That’s the word Jordin Canada uses to describe her Los Angeles homecoming. The former UCLA standout remembers the day she told her family she was coming home.
“Oh man, my mom went ballistic! I told friends and teammates from high school, they said they knew I was coming home,” says Canada, while looking back on the call that changed her life. “After a 45 minute call with [then-coach] Derek Fisher, he discussed how important it is for me to come home and represent L.A.”
The WNBA offseason was full of movement with trades, and many believed that Canada was another name that could make an immediate impact when she was traded to the Sparks after four seasons with the Seattle Storm. Now, as she settles back into her hometown, Canada is focused on more than just hoops, too. Lately she’s been making moves behind the scenes in the studio and taking advantage of the endless possibilities the west coast has to offer.
“The opportunities L.A. has, you can’t get elsewhere in terms of music,” Canada tells WSLAM. “In terms of life and career decisions, I felt like Los Angeles was the best place for me to venture out a little bit more and explore what I’m passionate about.”
For the fifth year PG, basketball has always been there to help guide her, while also teaching her the importance of staying disciplined. She’s bringing that same energy to her music career, too.
“Basketball has taught me [a] valuable lesson that I’ve carried with me since my childhood,” says Canada. “Responsibility, accountability and being disciplined. You have to be disciplined and practice music. I’m no expert in this area, I’m still trying to navigate through it to see what I like and what I don’t like. It’s hard, but you know, that’s how I was when I first started playing basketball. Then it got easier, so I’m embracing the challenge.”
After years of teammates and friends telling her to pursue music, she finally feels like she’s in a place in her life where she can explore the industry.
“I feel like now I can branch out and start pursuing music more seriously, and trying to get into the studio as much as possible in the offseason because basketball and music deserve 100 percent of my attention,” explains Candada. “I want to learn as much as possible from friends who do music or just listening to artists and seeing where my creativity can come in.”
Music isn’t her only creative pursuit, either. Canada’s off days include attending Jordan Brand events with fellow former UCLA Bruin, fashion maven and Los Angeles Laker Russell Westbrook.
“I really love [his brand] Honor The Gift. I just had a conversation with Russell the other day at our Jordan Brand event. I told him, I really want to rock your stuff, so just having connections like that here and being able to wear some of his stuff is dope,” she says.
Her fashion is steeped in her west coast roots, from biker jackets to shirts with powerful messages. Canada’s tunnel fits seem effortless, and she had a monster year in 2021, from fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a Jordan Brand athlete to being named to the 2021 All-LeagueFits Second Team.
“I love designer brands but ironically I don’t have a lot of designer in my wardrobe. I stick to underground, up-and-coming clothing lines, and my friends have clothing lines that are coming out so I get to wear some of their stuff.”
As the WNBA considers global expansion, many players like Canada are considering how to expand their brand as well. Having her L.A. based sports agency, Klutch Sports, nearby will be major for Canada’s brand as she mulls over new projects. When she talks about business in the WNBA, she admires an off-the-court GOAT.
“Skylar Diggins-Smith. She’s business-minded from her deals with Body Armor and Puma to broadcasting NBA games. That’s the kind of businesswoman I want to be.”
Like many athletes playing in their hometowns, she’s also focusing on how she can incorporate philanthropy into her brand through the game. Her love for L.A. hoops is palpable as she describes her eagerness to give back to the youth, specifically.
“Honestly, just being in L.A., in this environment, brings me peace,” says Canada. “Going to see the local youth play and to see the talent level keeps me grounded as I give back. In the grand scheme of things, what I do is such a small thing compared to what’s going on in the world.”
Canada reflects on her career and how she’s learned to keep out the noise to become one of the biggest defensive threats in the League.
“It was hard in the beginning as a rookie coming from college. I had a different role when I was in Seattle and it was tough. But at this point of my career, I know what my strengths are and what’s important. I just try to block out noise as much as possible, whether that’s staying off of social media at a certain point in the season or after games.”
Instead, Canada prefers to let most of her talking happen on the court. Her resilience and court presence have always garnered attention from fans, but she’s also well respected among players throughout the League. Her game commands it, or else her opponents risk ending up on the other side of the night’s Top 10 plays. From her fashion to her quick handles, she’s proven to be more of a quiet storm than anything.
“Yeah, I hear this a lot, about people not knowing much about me,” Canada says with a smirk. “When I got to the League I told myself [that] you got to keep the main thing, the main thing, which is basketball. Having the opportunity to play on one of the dynastys of the WNBA for the last four years, I was trying to fit into a system that was filled with a lot of superstars and navigating my way through that and where exactly I fit in. With so many great players, you’re trying to figure out how to get into the starting lineup. In the bubble, I was just trying to make an impact as much as possible. I knew my time would come if I stayed focused.”
The superstar in the making is hungry this season. In her first game as a Spark, she took over, matching her career-high of 21 points, along with 8 assists, as her team took down the reigning champion Chicago Sky. She hasn’t slowed down, currently averaging 10.1 points and 5.2 assists per game.
“Having an opportunity to come back home and play for my city and a great organization in the Sparks, is a dream come true,” says Canada. “Just being back, it’s great having amazing connections on and off the court. I felt like it was time for me to pursue more opportunities to also show what I can do on the court, being in a different role that’s allowing for more that aligns with my brand.”
While her journey took her from UCLA to Seattle for a bit, Canada says she learned many valuable lessons while she was away from home.
“One lesson I’ve learned since leaving home is [that] my value comes from who I am and not what I do. I think that is something that I carry with me everywhere I go. I had to learn that basketball is what I do, it’s just my job and I love it.”
Now that she’s back in Cali, Canada is focusing on the road ahead and the legacy she wants to leave behind. She’s ready to lead her hometown Sparks back to championship glory while extending herself beyond basketball.
“I want people to remember me as someone who constantly gave back to others and not even in a basketball sense, but in life,” says Canada. “Whatever I can do to help enrich people’s lives. But what I care about most is how people value me as a person and how they [see] me as a person and not just a basketball player.”
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Photos via Getty Images.