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Outlook 2020: 'A lot of times, we’re our biggest roadblocks,' Ayana Lawson

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Outlook 2020 - The Way We Live: Read the full section here

Ayana Lawson is the Thunder's director of player services in Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman Archives]
Ayana Lawson is the Thunder's director of player services in Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman Archives]

Name: Ayana Lawson, 38, Oklahoma City Thunder.

Highlights: While at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Lawson interned for the Grizzlies. She stayed on as an assistant video coordinator for a year after graduating college. Then, Lawson moved to Seattle in 2004 to take on the role of video coordinator for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. She spent four years in that position, adding the responsibility of player services coordinator for the Storm and SuperSonics in the last two. When the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City, Lawson went with them. She began her Thunder tenure as the director of player services and appearances and in 2017 was promoted to senior director of community & lifestyle services.

Community impact: Lawson’s responsibilities are wide-reaching, but she sums up her job as, working with the Thunder players “on a day-to-day basis to help make sure that their outside lives don’t hinder anything on the court.” She impacts the community through those players but also finds time in her busy schedule to volunteer for various community organizations. Lawson is active in the PTA of her children’s schools and a Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma board member. She volunteers at her church and with Team Tinker Home Away from Home. Lawson was a member of Leadership Oklahoma's young professionals class, LOYAL Class XI.

Life's philosophy and advice other young women: “When I first started in the league, I worked so hard just trying to get a foot in that I couldn’t enjoy life. And life is so short, it goes by so fast, that no matter what you do, laugh at yourself, enjoy it. Enjoy the good times and the bad times and not take everything so — not necessarily seriously — but just realize that before you know it, it’s going to be gone. And all you have is memories.

“In this environment where women are sometimes told to hamper down, just believe in yourself. Work hard so that when opportunities are given that you can kick the door down. A lot of times, we’re our biggest roadblocks, not society, it’s just our doubts for ourselves. So, believe that you’re everything that you want to be and everything that you can be.”

— Maddie Lee, Staff writer

Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›