WNBA president Laurel Richie, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Katie Couric, Washington Mystics guard Alana Beard, Mystics co-owner Sheila Johnson. Photo courtesy WNBA.
The WNBA held its sixth annual WNBA Inspiration Award luncheon Tuesday in New York City and honored veteran journalist Katie Couric and retired WNBA legend Lisa Leslie. In addition to league officials such as the new WNBA president Laurel Richie, luncheon attendees included NBA Commissioner David Stern, players from the New York Liberty and the Washington Mystics. The Mystics take on the Liberty today in a preseason game at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Over 400 people attended the luncheon according to the league. Couric, the first solo female evening news anchor, received the Inspiration Award. The accolade is meant to recognize an individual who inspires others through her personal and professional leadership.
“I’m happy to be here celebrating the beginning of the 15th season of the WNBA,” said Couric, “the most successful women’s sports league in the world with such a collection of accomplished women from so many different fields.”
Couric talked about her career including anchoring “CBS Evening News” as well as her work on behalf of cancer patients.
“I’m very proud of my award-winning work with my team at CBS over the past 5 years. As part of my job at the Today show and on the CBS Evening News, I have been fortunate to have the chance to interview presidents and world leaders, celebrities and authors…and even Lil Wayne, who told me, ‘I’m a gangsta, Miss Katie.'”
Couric also addressed plans for her future since leaving the CBS news desk.
“As many of you know, I’ve spent the past several months deciding what I want to do next. And while I’m not quite ready to announce my plans, I would like my next job to also include reporting on important, influential newsmakers and helping to educate others – and myself – about important issues we’re facing in this country and beyond, in a much more accessible way.”
Leslie received the inaugural CieAura Pioneer Award meant to recognize a leaders in the community and on the court.