basketball

Aliyah Boston keeps striving for greatness on and off the court

The first overall pick in last year's WNBA Draft, Worcester Academy graduate Aliyah Boston, didn't make Team USA's roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but that isn't deterring her from her dreams

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Qualifying for the Olympics is no easy task, as athletes from all over the U.S. compete for just a handful of spots.

Basketball star Aliyah Boston knows this first-hand. The Worcester Academy grad found out this week that she did not make the team roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but this decision isn't expected to slow her down.

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From a young age, Boston's family and coaches recognized her talent and potential to be a great basketball player, but in order to chase that dream, she had to take a great leap of faith.

"Initially, our plan was not to move to New England. It was honestly just to come up there and find an AAU team and be able to travel for the summer and then come back," Boston said. "But then my mom and dad, they were like, 'You know what? How do you guys feel about staying?'"

When she was 12 years old, Boston and her sister left their home, the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, and moved in with their aunt in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her goal then was to earn a basketball scholarship for college.

Since winning three titles with UConn and being drafted first overall in the WNBA, Diana Taurasi has represented Team USA five times in the Olympics and is preparing for a sixth in Paris.

"I mean, my aunt, just her and my cousin living there, and opened up her doors for my sister and I to move in and go to school up there and live," she said. "So basically, now she has three kids out of nowhere after one summer, but it's such a blessing. And I think that's just something that my entire family talk about, we preach is just we have to be there for one another."

They enrolled in Worcester Academy, where Boston's talent and work ethic made her three-time Massachusetts Player of the Year, and her dream of going to college debt-free came true.

"Just being able to commit, get that scholarship, earning your first one, is so amazing because it feels like all the hard work, all the sacrifices are starting to pay off," said Boston.

She decided to leave New England for the University of South Carolina, choosing a coach who would help her grow, in the game and beyond the court.

"I got to college when I was 17. I don't want to get to college and think that this is all about basketball," said Boston. "I'm going to be growing up finding out who I am as a woman, and having a Black female head coach is something that helped me with that. Coach [Dawn] Staley helped me find my voice. I just remember her speaking confidence into me, just speaking life into me. And it's honestly just been such a great relationship. Now, even that I'm out of school, I know, and this is silly, but my mom sends her, like, prayers every day and every game day, and I just think that shows that it's more than just a business."

At the WNBA Draft, Boston was the No. 1 overall pick.

"I just remember when I heard my name called, I just got like, goosebumps all down my arms because I was like, 'Wow, this just happened. I was just picked number one!' I could only give all my thanks to God, because without him, none of this is even possible," said Boston.

The 2023 Rookie of the Year and All-Star says her faith has guided her through every sacrifice and difficult moment.

"God opens doors for you, because he knows that he has prepared you for what that looks like," she said. "Whether that was us leaving the house at 12 and 14, to traveling every weekend in New Jersey, from Massachusetts, to missing out on parties, missing out on birthdays, just stuff like that. But you know when you have a goal and just being able to work towards it."

Boston is already using her platform to give back to her community in St. Thomas, through a girls basketball camp.

"That's where I came from. That's where I grew up, those courts where I was practicing," said Boston. "To and have an all-girls camp, just so that girls who love the game of basketball getting into the game of basketball doesn't feel like they have to necessarily leave the island like I did to get that elite training and get that elite exposure."

As for her future, she continues to set a high bar.

"I envision being one of the best basketball players in the entire world, and just being able to build generational wealth for my family," Boston said. "That's to come."

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