Natasha Cloud ’15 Uses Sports as a Model for Social Change

Natasha Cloud Speaking at Saint Joseph's University

From left: Stephanie Tryce, J.D. and Natasha Cloud ’15. Photo by Dan Moretz

Natasha Cloud ’15 returned to the Saint Joseph’s campus on February 4, the eve of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The Washington Mystics guard discussed her experiences advocating against gun violence in her Washington, D.C. community, expressing her frustration directly to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White on Instagram. She felt a sense of duty to act.

“God gave me a platform” as a WNBA star, Cloud said. “If I see something wrong and I don’t speak up, I’m doing a disservice to others.”

In May, protests occurred worldwide after Minnesota security guard George Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee for almost nine minutes. Cloud wrote a powerful response in The Players’ Tribune urging athletes and others not to be silent about the problem of racism in America.

“What's going to move the needle here is everyone getting involved – and by that I mean all athletes. Because there’s no room for any of that silence or ‘neutrality’ in the athlete community either…. We need to meet this moment with accountability, and solidarity, and leadership,” Cloud wrote.

In the February conversation at Saint Joseph’s with Stephanie Tryce, J.D., assistant professor of marketing, Cloud, who won the 2019 WNBA championship with the Mystics, told an audience of students, faculty and staff about the power of sports to break down social barriers and be a model for change.

A biracial child raised by two white parents and surrounded by white siblings, Cloud said that society saw her differently from her siblings. By the time she entered college, basketball had given her a community of women who looked like her that she could identify with and allowed her to be proud to be biracial. Her comfort inspired her talent to shine through: While at Saint Joseph’s, Cloud led the team to two appearances in the NCAA tournament, two Philadelphia Big Five titles and the 2013 Atlantic 10 championship. She was the first Hawk to be drafted to the WNBA since Susan Moran in 2002. 

For her commitment to social justice, Cloud was named the recipient of the WNBA’s 2019 Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award. During her talk on campus, Cloud said that the award affirms the values she grew up with and aligned with at Saint Joseph’s.

“[The award] means more to me than any championship or individual accolade,” she said. “It means that I’m part of something greater than myself and that I’m making an impact on my community.”