Jessica’s promising basketball career was going to end long before it ever had a chance to develop unless she changed her lifestyle. Notably, her eating choices and habits.
As a basketball player holding down the post at George Washington University, Jessica Adair was 6’4 and 270 pounds. In college, that size created great matchups for her against smaller, weaker post players. A mid-major conference schedule allowed her to dominate opponents with her size, despite being limited in speed.
Things changed Jessica’s senior year when a new coach told her she needed to be lighter and faster on her feet by the time season started. So Jessica went vegan and cut down her carbohydrates to drop 30 pounds down to 240. Instead of focusing simply on her meals, she decided to change her entire lifestyle and approach to eating. The hard work paid off as she was the leader scorer and rebounder for George Washington and an all-conference selection.
Jessica was still playing at 240 pounds when the Phoenix Mercury drafted her 34th overall in the 2009 WNBA Draft. But for a team that mirrored its NBA counterpart and ran a “run-and-gun” style of basketball, Jessica was not an asset and she was cut before training camp even started. The cut and dangerous reality of her candidacy for diabetes (her mother also has diabetes) brought Jessica down to earth and changed her life forever.
She tried a number of diets but ultimately settled on eating smart and consuming lots of vegetables. She added P90X and Insanity Workouts into her training program, ran sprints around her neighborhood, and focused on improving her physical body’s shape. During the day she would work for a local nonprofit and at night play pickup basketball to keep her skills sharp.
The Minnesota Lynx’s new head coach Joe McKeown, Jessica’s coach her first three years at GWU, took note and signed Jessica in the spring of 2010 to the WNBA franchise. After limited duty in 2010 and overseas during the offseason, Jessica is now playing at her highest level – and her lowest weight of just around 200 pounds. She only averaged just over 4 points and 3 rebounds during the 2011 season, but as the great competitors always do, took her game to the highest level when the playoffs arrived, including a 13 point, 2 rebound, and 3 block performance in game 2 of the 2011 WNBA Finals. Her Minnesota Lynx finished the finals with a there game sweep of their opponent.
Now, the Lynx are back in the WNBA Finals after dispatching Los Angeles. Jessica continues to play at a high level in helping her team try to win back-to-back championships. Her newfound playing weight and life are encouraging her on-court play and her off-court relationships, including her Lynx teammate and former college opponent, Amber Harris, who has dropped 30 pounds of her own after watching her teammate’s lifestyle change.