AUGUSTA, Ga ( WJBF) – Sandersville, Georgia is home to fewer than six thousand people and is also the home to Allisha Gray, their first Olympian and now gold medalist.
” Basically everybody knows everybody, so I just hope I can be an inspiration to all the boys and girls back home to know that they can make it to the big stage too,” said Gray.
Gray is no stranger to success, winning a GHSA AAA state title at Washington county high school in 2011. Then winning a national championship at South Carolina in 2017. Later that year she was drafted fourth overall in the WNBA draft, and then winning Rookie of the Year honors.
” Winning gold was a different level of accomplishment than winning a national championship, it’s just been a fun experience,” said Gray.
But before she was a superstar on the hardwood, Allisha just grew up playing basketball in the backyard of her family’s home in the dirt, with her two brothers.
” Growing up with two other brothers, before my sister was born being outside and them being aggressive and them not allowing me to get like easy like fouls helped,” she added.
” I’d be like Allisha let’s have a shoot out, then she would hit ten in a row and I’m like just forget it ,” said her brother AJ.
Her brother AJ’s name also hangs in the rafter at Washington County. He’s a former two-time All-CSRA award winner and later went on to start to season at Georgia Tech at safety. AJ had his eyes on the NFL until a heart condition ended his dreams of one day playing professional football. However, he looks at his situation as a blessing.
” I look at me having to stop playing football as a blessing, because I can live the sports life through her,” said AJ.
The four siblings are all very close, but Allisha and AJ have a unique relationship as they are less than two years apart, and for him watching his big sister compete on the world stage brings him great joy.
“For us all growing up together, I know they’re all very proud of me ,” said Allisha.
” It’s just crazy that a girl from a small town Sandersville, Georgia is playing in the Olympics. Just proud of her and hope she continues to succeed,” said AJ.
And since the family couldn’t make the trip to Tokyo, they plan on taking a family vacation to celebrate.