Her earliest memory of basketball is at the age of 3, sitting in a stroller watching her dad, Bruce, play basketball in a blacktops tournament. Her mom, Shannon, says her eyes kept following her dad up and down the court.
“That’s when my love for basketball started,” says Tyasha Harris, Dallas Wings Point Guard. As she got older, Ty would ask her dad to take her to the neighborhood park to dribble the ball – almost every day. “And that’s how I fell in love with it,” she says.
Nineteen years later, Ty isn’t just excelling at the game (7th overall pick in the first round), she’s helping to shape it.
At the age of 22, Ty is one of the first black female athletes to invest in tech through her partnership with SportsLync, an app for athletes, coaches and fans to connect.
When she first heard of the tech startup, Ty says she was very intrigued. The main reason: She’s an athlete, and she understands the struggle. “When I’m back home (in Indiana) working out, I’m often hearing parents talking to trainers asking how they can get their kids more exposure. I hear them asking, ‘How can we get our kids seen?’ ”
In her hometown in Indiana, high schools host summer leagues for incoming freshmen to gauge athletes’ talent and place them in the varsity or JV teams. With the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling the 2020 summer league, an incoming freshman basketball player Ty knows was not accepted onto the varsity team because the coach didn’t have the opportunity to watch her play.
SportsLync, she says, presents a good option for high school players and for colleges looking for players. “Honestly just being seen,” she says, is important.
So when her agent mentioned the opportunity, she immediately recognized the market need. “It’s really neat to have a platform that’s Facebook and Instagram combined for athletes that helps them get seen,” she says, adding that SportsLync helps athletes with networking and recruiting. “Networking is a big thing. Life is about connections, who you know and who that person knows.”
As an athlete whose brand is booming, having recently signed with Under Armour, Ty’s goal is for SportsLync to help high school and college athletes build their brand. “For athletes, brand is everything,” she says. “And this is a really good app for that.”
Dallas Wings. Under Armour. SportsLync. All at the age of 22. When asked about her future goals, Ty still says, “I have a lot.”
She wants to be one of the best point guards to play in the game of basketball; she wants to win a WNBA championship and win an MVP. She wants to build the Under Armour brand on the women’s side like Steph Curry did on the men’s side. And she wants SportsLync to become the leading platform for athletes, coaches and fans.
Ty also wants to build financial stability for her family and herself. Her inspiration? Her parents, Bruce and Shannon. “Now that I’m older,” she says, “I see everything they put into me to get me to where I am. The driving to tournaments, buying clothes gear for basketball, trainers, sitting on the hard bleachers. The money, time and commitment they invested into me just to get me here.”
Family is really important to Ty, who has one older brother and two younger sisters – all athletes. “I’m a very loyal person, and I’m super family-oriented,” she says.