“I think when the pandemic first started, there were a lot of people saying things like ‘If you aren’t hustling, you are doing it backward,’ but I think it also gave us a break. It gave us perspective because it is easy to be on the go, and this made everyone pause and ask ourselves about our mental health and how we were going to take care of our families as well as what we were going to do if our primary jobs were not available. I probably would not have pursued law this soon or full-heartedly. It’s crazy how much difference a year makes.”
And while McGee-Stafford is very much her own person, seeing players such as future Hall of Famer Maya Moore leave at the top of her game to fight against injustice might have made her tough decision a little easier. “For sure! Maya is one of the best ever, but she is also very private. She didn’t announce anything—she just took that leap of faith. Maya, if you are listening, please come play basketball again! No, really, we miss her, but watching her journey and seeing her get a happy ending really did the ultimate in terms of laying her job on the line and fighting for something that was bigger than her. She did that before Kapernick! Shoutout to Kap, but Maya started before!”
So now, halfway through her program, the young student finds herself immersed in her studies most of the day—though it can get a little difficult due to the program being solely online.
“I literally sit at this desk six hours out of the day. I wake up and go over my notes, and I’m trying to figure out how to get my workouts in as well. Even though we are online, our classes are live. There are four black kids in my law school class, and the majority of us are having a hard time because most of the people in our class know a lawyer or have family members that are lawyers—the cultural barrier is very much real. Being at home and embracing yourself in the language has been very hard because if you have never been a part of the law, it is an entirely different language. They aren’t teaching for us, they are teaching for the people who don’t look like us, so I have kind of struggled being at home. Luckily California lowered the score for passing the bar, but it’s definitely an uphill battle.”