Rising Australian basketball star, Shyla Heal, says she’s finally recovered from the “heartbreak” of being sensationally cut from the WNBA last year and is ready to prove her doubters wrong on the big stage.
In her first TV interview since being axed from the Chicago Sky after just five games, the first round draft pick and her father, Boomers legend Shane Heal, exclusively open up to Nine’s Sports Sunday about the toll it took on the young point guard.
“So I arrive, have one training session and have my first game, don’t know anyone, don’t know the plays, first time to America…I go on my first road trip to Pheonix … my coach pulled me aside and said ‘Hey Shyla, you’ve been traded to Dallas and they’ve cut you, so you’ve got to go home’,” the young star told Wide World of Sports.
As the team boarded their flight, the 19-year-old was left stranded in the airport, unable to get hold of any family back home in Australia.
“I just laid on the airport floor, I was crying, I was just confused trying to let it all sink in. For me I was heartbroken,” she said.
Father Shane recalls the moment he received the news.
“It was tough, when you’ve got kids it’s not so much about the sport aspect … but when you see them hurt,” the Boomers legend said.
“It was so disappointing. To be done in the public light… To have so much success and it’s ripped away.”
Shyla Heal returned home and spent two weeks reliving the devastating moment in quarantine, before dusting herself off and getting to work in the WNBL … and was rewarded with an Opals debut in February.
“I’ve learned that you’re going to have ups and downs and as young as I am I’m happy it happened at the start of my career because I have so much experience and I’m taking it on board to be better,” she said.
With a home World Cup looming in October, the 20 year old has hired a personal trainer to work on her strength and speed in the quest to nail down a spot in the Australian squad and continue their proud family history in the sport.
“I know I’ll have to do my time … whether it’s 11 or 12th man. But my main goal is to be one of the best point guard defenders in the country,” Heal added.
See the full interview on Sports Sunday at 10am.
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