Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.




 photos courtesy new york liberty

 

A lanky 14-year-old stood basking in the events of McKeesport’s International Village, a lively food and music festival, when a gentleman approached with a business card. Runways and magazine covers, he believed, were in store for this striking ninth-grader.

The cameras soon found Swin Cash. Spindly legs and all, she transformed into a noted regional print model. Next was a spot in New York City’s Fashion Week.
Was she destined to become America’s next top model? Not quite. Not with mom monitoring matters.

Cynthia Cash, who was a teenager when she gave birth to Swin, declared it was time to swap the high heels for high tops. The catwalk could wait for her photogenic daughter.

“A lot of people don’t know that story, other than my family,” Swin Cash says, reflecting on the events of 22 years ago. “It all happened so fast. Here I am, this skinny kid, and they say, ‘We have to shave your legs, fix your makeup ...’ I’m like, ‘What? I’m 14.’ It was getting serious. My mom said, ‘It’s time we focus on the sports side of things.’”

That prescient decision launched a basketball career entering its last months — in New York City, of all places. Cash, 36, is in her 15th and final WNBA season with the New York Liberty.

On June 7, she announced her retirement, effective at season’s end. She will leave the game ranked among the top 15 in WNBA history in scoring, rebounding, assists and games played.

No longer physically able to dominate as she did while winning two NCAA titles with the University of Connecticut, three WNBA championships and two Olympic gold medals, Cash has this season relied on her self-described “McKeesport mentality” as a key reserve for the Liberty, her fifth WNBA team.

“Her pride pushes her to keep playing this game,” Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer says. “She has a great desire to compete at the highest level at all times.”

This explains why she’ll selflessly dive into a scorer’s table for a loose ball, as she did in a game against Connecticut, or chase down a player 10 years her junior to block a shot, as she did in Phoenix.

“To watch her inspires me,” says teammate Tanisha Wright, a West Mifflin High School graduate. “[She] pretty much inspires everyone around her.”

Oh yes, that inspiration. The morning of April 22 underscores the point. It was 9:30 a.m. and Cash had just rung the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with her Liberty teammates. By 9:40 a.m., she was gone, racing to LaGuardia Airport, bound for McKeesport.

“Had to see my kids back home,” says Cash.
 


 

Those “kids” she refers to are participants in the Cash for Kids program, which Cash founded 11 years ago to educate and empower children with a focus on fitness. Upwards of 2,000 youngsters from McKeesport have benefited.

On this day, the basketball playoffs are in full swing for the 9- and 10-year-old group. Cash watches intently. She cheers for — and challenges — the young players. She hangs on every shot, pass and turnover.

This is where Cash says she is most at ease. It means more to her than the TV work she does with the New York Knicks, CBS Sports Network and Turner Television. It trumps her April selection as one of Sports Illustrated’s “50 Most Fashionable Athletes.” And it far surpasses her two WNBA All-Star game MVP awards.

A hug. A high-five. A massive smile. That’s all “Ms. Swin” needs from her kids.

“I made a promise that I would come and see them play, and it’s important to stay true to those promises,” Cash says. “To get a chance to put my arms around them, to talk to them, to listen to them and to encourage them, means everything to me. It was cool ringing the bell at the stock exchange, but the highlight of my day was being there with those kids in McKeesport.”

Back in New York, Cash is basking in her final run through the WNBA. She also is preparing for future success. A full-time TV job is a possibility, she says. Ditto for an executive position with a WNBA team. Motherhood remains a goal, too, for this recently married trendsetter.

“I’m truly humbled by my experiences,” Cash says. “Every day, I think about the people who believed in me, invested in me. They gave so much to me. It’s a great lesson. And it’s one I want to share with as many people as I can.
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

At Scene75, Be a Kid (or Bring Your Kids)

The entertainment center in Edgewood is a great time with or without little ones.

Pitt Attaches Old-School Signature to Narduzzi’s Championship Prediction

Thanks to wide receivers recognized for their blocking ability and an offensive line endearingly referred to as “knuckleheads“ –– the Panthers are one win away from making their head coach's bold pre-season prediction a reality.

Pittsburgh Restaurant News: Reduced Hours and a Chef Change

Two Oakland restaurants now have shorter hours and a chef moves from Downtown to Lawrenceville.

What Unites Us In the Wake of the Tree of Life Tragedy

We asked local faith leaders for their response to the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill –– and how we can come together and more forward as a community.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Review: Molinaro Ristorante

Ron Molinaro's Downtown restaurant offers high-end Italian dishes made with top-notch ingredients, but is it worth the price premium?

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2018 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished judges in the field.

Nursing Shortage in Pittsburgh Calls for Creative Solutions

RetuRN to Practice entices retired nurses back Into the field.

Fine Art Meets High Fashion at the Carnegie International

With the Carnegie International as the backdrop, we feature work by local fashion designer Elaine Healey, who has been morphing from luxury womenswear to a more “non-binary” style.

The 400-Word Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

While Harry Potter diehards will find more than enough sustenance in the sequel, non-devotees may have a rough time following the action.

Pittsburgh's Tomorrow – What We Need in the Future

As the year comes to a close, we look forward to what Pittsburgh can be –– and what we'd like to see change –– in the coming years.

How to Shop Like a Pro for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Our guide to produce, pastries, libations and more will help your table brim with tasty treats from Pittsburgh-area businesses.

Drink Like the French on Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Why and where to celebrate on Thursday, which marks the annual release of the young wine.

‘X’ Marks the Spot for This Wedding Scavenger Hunt

She thought she was going on a simple scavenger hunt. She never dreamed it would end with a wedding.

Pittsburgh Just Dodged the Amazon Bullet

We should be relieved that the tech giant opted not to move in.

It's Official: Amazon HQ2 is Not Coming to Pittsburgh

Instead of one city, the giant retailer is splitting its second headquarters between northern Virginia and New York City.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Pittsburgh Just Dodged the Amazon Bullet

Pittsburgh Just Dodged the Amazon Bullet

We should be relieved that the tech giant opted not to move in.

Comments

It's Official: Amazon HQ2 is Not Coming to Pittsburgh

It's Official: Amazon HQ2 is Not Coming to Pittsburgh

Instead of one city, the giant retailer is splitting its second headquarters between northern Virginia and New York City.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Restaurant News: Reduced Hours and a Chef Change

Pittsburgh Restaurant News: Reduced Hours and a Chef Change

Two Oakland restaurants now have shorter hours and a chef moves from Downtown to Lawrenceville.

Comments

How to Shop Like a Pro for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

How to Shop Like a Pro for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Our guide to produce, pastries, libations and more will help your table brim with tasty treats from Pittsburgh-area businesses.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

We dove into the local artisan bread scene to find the best places that bake naturally leavened bread in Pittsburgh.

Comments


At Scene75, Be a Kid (or Bring Your Kids)

At Scene75, Be a Kid (or Bring Your Kids)

The entertainment center in Edgewood is a great time with or without little ones.

Comments

Five Essential November Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential November Events in Pittsburgh

Avian art, altruistic alt-rock and more November nights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pitt Attaches Old-School Signature to Narduzzi’s Championship Prediction

Pitt Attaches Old-School Signature to Narduzzi’s Championship Prediction

Thanks to wide receivers recognized for their blocking ability and an offensive line endearingly referred to as “knuckleheads“ –– the Panthers are one win away from making their head coach's bold pre-season prediction a reality.

Comments

Steelers Have Changed the Narrative in Dramatic Fashion

Steelers Have Changed the Narrative in Dramatic Fashion

A defense that was groping to accomplish the simplest of tasks has started to dominate. The offense has stopped getting in its own way and started exploding scoreboards.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The 400-Word Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

While Harry Potter diehards will find more than enough sustenance in the sequel, non-devotees may have a rough time following the action.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The 400-Word Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Coen Brothers' western anthology is less than the sum of its parts, but it boasts some great tales.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
‘X’ Marks the Spot for This Wedding Scavenger Hunt

‘X’ Marks the Spot for This Wedding Scavenger Hunt

She thought she was going on a simple scavenger hunt. She never dreamed it would end with a wedding.

Comments

A Tale of Two Weddings

A Tale of Two Weddings

In a theatrical performance set to stun audiences for years to come, this Pittsburgh couple took on two weddings — one featuring a mayor, a movie trailer and a secret marriage.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Schoolhouse Electric Brings Hip Lighting, Coffee, to Pittsburgh

Schoolhouse Electric Brings Hip Lighting, Coffee, to Pittsburgh

The Portland, Ore-based lighting and furnishings store, which shares space with a high-end coffeehouse from the team behind The Vandal restaurant, is located in East Liberty's Detective Building.

Comments

Own a Piece of the Allegheny County Courthouse With New Gift Line

Own a Piece of the Allegheny County Courthouse With New Gift Line

Wendell August Forge is turning the century-old terracotta roof tiles into a line of collectible itms that include wall hangings and beer flight carriers.

Comments