The New York Liberty phenom sits down with the shot doctor to talk brand-building, their career trajectories, and what they look for in a partnership.
Sabrina Ionescu and Chris Brickley come from different worlds. She, a California-born Oregon Duck; he, a New Hampshire-raised Louisville Cardinal. But fate brought both of them to New York, where the former now stars for the WNBA’s Liberty and the latter plays the role of one of basketball’s preeminent skills development trainers.
These two are always hustling. Always banging out the next thing. But somehow, Boardroom managed to catch up with Ionescu and Brickley, who are both partners with BODYARMOR, to talk about how they both got here, what it feels like to cultivate a public persona, and much more.
“What would you tell the seventh-grade Sabrina?” Brickley asked.
“Keep on dreaming,” the 23-year-old replied. “I always used to dream about achieving crazy things, playing in the WNBA, being the best basketball player — but also just living in the moment.”
But that doesn’t mean “the moment” doesn’t still feel surreal.
“I definitely am still in shock. I still feel like that girl who grew up playing with the guys and did it for fun. I think I’m more just like, wow, this is a blessing,” Ionescu said. “And whatever I can do to inspire younger girls and boys — I was once in their shoes, wanting to look up to role models, seeing how they played, because I was just in love with the game so much.”
Brickley is thoroughly in love with the game, too. But after a college career that saw him make a handful of cameos at Northeastern and Louisville, there was no professional contract teed up. That meant building a brand as a skills coach for NBA talent all the more difficult.
“Early on in my career, I would get it from former players. ‘He didn’t play in the NBA. Who is he?’ Guys like Donovan Mitchell, I started training him when he was in high school. We worked together until he became an NBA All-Star,” he said. “My work is shown that I know how to get players better.”
So, what’s the key to success at the end of the day?
“The hard work that I’ve put in and a lot of sacrifice from a young age. My parents sacrificing for me to be able to play sports,” the Liberty star said. “Always staying true to myself and what my gut was telling me to do, and also continuing to strive for more and to be better.”