The nature of professional sports means saying goodbye. Roster change is an inevitable part of the quest to get better and compete for championships. In Seattle, we’ve been lucky not to have to do that so much in recent seasons, but this offseason alone has meant saying goodbye to three favorites: Swin Cash, Le’coe Willingham and now Ashley Robinson.
From a basketball perspective, I’m thrilled the Storm was able to trade for one of my favorite young players in the league, talented athlete Victoria Dunlap. In time, we’ll come to know her as a person and not just a basketball player, as was the case with Robinson when she came to the Storm as an unproven young player midway through the 2006 season.
Still, Ashley will be missed. Over six years with the Storm – more than any other reserve in the league had spent with the same team – she became a fixture.
It’s always bothered me when fans and analysts tried to paint Robinson as a cheerleader, which demeaned her ability to contribute on the floor. Players, coaches and those who watched practice on a regular basis knew what Robinson was capable of doing when she got enough minutes to build her confidence, and I’m thankful the whole world had a chance to see Robinson’s skills during her breakout 2011 season.
At the same time, there’s no question that Robinson was more valuable to the Storm than her stat line would ever indicate because she is such a great person to be around. Ashley has always been accessible to fans, especially after joining Twitter, and her support for her teammates grew into an important leadership role as she gained perspective as a WNBA veteran.
To know Ashley is to want her to succeed, and I hope you’ll join me in saying a heartfelt goodbye and wishing her the best of luck as she moves on to Washington.