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Q&A With Skylar Diggins-Smith: Thoughts On NIL Deals, Partnership With BODYARMOR, What's Next For Her Career

Skylar Diggins on the floor.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 31: Skylar Diggins-Smith #4 of the Phoenix Mercury handles the ball against the Chicago Sky during the second half of the WNBA game at the Footprint Center on August 31, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mercury defeated the Sky 103-83. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Skylar Diggins-Smith has accomplished an awful lot over the past few years - on and off the court. When she's not on the hardwood earning All-WNBA honors, she's finding ways to expand her brand.

Back in 2014, Diggins-Smith signed an endorsement deal with BODYARMOR, a sports drink that provides "superior hydration." Fast forward nearly eight years later, and their partnership is still going strong.

In fact, Diggins-Smith played a key role in BODYARMOR's “EDGE vs. EVERYONE” campaign. The brand's newest drink combines its original sports drink with natural caffeine.

We caught up with Skylar Diggins-Smith to discuss her partnership with BODYARMOR, what's next for her WNBA career and much more.

The Spun: Can you tell me about your partnership with BODYARMOR and the "EDGE VS EVERYONE” campaign?

Skylar Diggins-Smith: I’ve been with the brand since roughly 2014. Just the way this brand continues to evolve is amazing. BODYARMOR EDGE just takes the brand to another level. It’s somewhat the same as the original BODYARMOR, but it has natural electrolytes, antioxidants and caffeine to get you through the day. I don’t know if you’re a big coffee drinker or not, but I was. So having that extra edge to make sure you can get through your day is a game-changer. It’s exciting being a part of this campaign because I get to work with Ja Morant, Mookie Betts and Kyler Murray. They’re all passionate players in their respective fields. This campaign shows us going through the motions and battling through adversity. It’s just really exciting to see this brand blow up.

The Spun: At this point in your career, what’s left on the bucket list for Skylar Diggins-Smith?

SD: I crossed a big one off by winning an Olympic gold medal recently, but I’m definitely still trying to win my first championship. Last season, we lost in the Finals. Now, we’re hoping to reload with the additions we made and take that next step to becoming champions. That would be the icing on the cake for me.

The Spun: You had an incredible run at Notre Dame. I’m curious if you ever thought about how different your time there would be if NIL deals were allowed then?

SD: The ceiling would’ve been limitless. It was really the start of that social media era for athletes. Obviously, I would’ve been able to capitalize a lot more in college. I would’ve had those nice outfits on that you see nowadays. But it’s great to see people invest in women’s sports now more than usual. However, it doesn’t surprise me. I do think about what could’ve been with NIL deals, but hopefully my kids can experience that [laughs].

The Spun: Do you think the right moves are being made to make sure women’s basketball sees an increase in coverage and funding?

SD: We saw an improvement as far as coverage for the women’s Final Four and the marketing funds for WNBA. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re not where we used to be. We’ve made strides, but we can’t be complacent. We need to continue to put one step forward in this fight for equality for women in every industry.

The Spun: You were part of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in 2014. With the new issue expected to come out soon, I’m curious how that experience was for you?

SD: I feel like I transitioned into a woman during that photoshoot. It was tasteful. They allowed me to show another side of myself, they made me feel empowered, and they let me define what I feel like my sexiness was. I just love how they embrace every type of woman. It was a different experience for me. My mother came with me to make sure everything was OK, but I definitely had a good time.

The 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue will be out later this spring. A behind-the-scenes look at some of the footage that will be featured in the issue can be viewed here.

The Spun: The WNBA Draft just took place this week. What would be your advice to the rookies coming in about handling their first year in the pros?

SD: The game has changed for sure. It’s unfortunate we have only 12 teams because that makes roster spots limited. I’d say don’t be discouraged. Every player has a different path in the WNBA. Just put the work in and continue to fight. Don’t get caught up in what someone else is doing. If you can play ball, you’ll get your chance. Don’t be afraid to show who you are during training camp.

The Spun: There’s plenty of incoming talent for the WNBA. Are there certain players that stand out to you?

SD: There are a few for sure. Maybe it’ll take time for them to become the face of the league, but you’ll see players like Rhyne Howard who’ll have great opportunities to shine. I think she has a lot of potential. I also like Shakira Austin from Ole Miss. A sleeper would be Maya Dodson. She fell to us in Phoenix. She can fit the role of being a defensive playmaker. I look forward to her development.

The Spun: What’s the next step in your career?

SD: There are a few things right now. I can’t share all of them, but I want to continue to evolve myself as a business woman. I want to continue investing and expanding my portfolio. I took a lot of time this offseason to focus on those endeavors. I also want to do stuff on camera. I was on the Suns broadcast doing some pregame work. I can see myself having a future as a game analyst on TV.

Diggins-Smith had a tremendous 2021 season with the Phoenix Mercury, averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. Unfortunately, she just fell short of winning her first WNBA championship.

Considering she missed out on her ultimate goal of winning a title, Diggins-Smith will most likely play with a chip on her shoulder this upcoming season.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.