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Basketball

Odyssey Sims Took the Long Way Home

It took time, travels, maturity, and becoming a parent. But the Irving native is back where she belongs.
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Befitting her name, the 31-year-old has had a journey to get back to her hometown team. Photo courtesy of Dallas Wings.

Since being taken with the second pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, Odyssey Sims has been, as her first name suggests, on a long and adventurous journey.

Stops in Tulsa, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Atlanta and Connecticut. Injuries. The birth of a son, whose arrival gave her a new perspective on life. 

That journey has come full circle for the 31-year-old Wings guard, who is in her second stint with the franchise that drafted her out of Baylor nine years ago. 

She’s older and wiser. A mother. More grateful than she has ever been. 

“You can say I took things for granted,” Sims says. “When I got into the league I was just immature. I was a little shit. There was a lot I had to figure out. 

“I thank God for growth. And I say that from a standpoint of I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t grow. Now in year nine I am thankful for the growth. I know how to handle myself as a pro athlete and as a mom and being a role model for my child and the young athletes that are looking up to me.”

It was by no means easy. After a stellar college career, she arrived in the WNBA to much fanfare. Along with teammate Brittney Griner, Sims was a three-time All-American and a member of the Bears’ undefeated national championship team in 2012.

The Tulsa Shock snapped her up, and she made the 2014 WNBA All-Rookie team, averaging 16.7 points and 4.2 assists per game. She endured an injury-plagued season in 2015, but then came the news that Sims was coming home. The Shock were relocating to Dallas; Sims had starred at MacArthur High in Irving.

The homecoming was short-lived, however, as in 2017 she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. Two years later, she was on the move again, this time to the Minnesota Lynx. It was a move that jump-started her career. 

She was named an All-Star and landed on the All-WNBA second team in 2019, while learning from Sylvia Fowles and other veterans what it meant to be a teammate. 

“I feel like if I never went to Minnesota and had my two years there, I would have been out of the league, for sure,” Sims says “ My time there helped me transition into being in the position I am now to be able to lead young ones.” 

Sims experienced more change over the next two seasons. She was suspended for the first two games in 2020 after pleading guilty to a drunken driving charge during the league’s “Bubble” season, and then her son, Jaiden, was born. She returned and played in 13 games, averaging a respectable 9.4 points and 3.5 assists a game.

She signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Dream in 2021 then returned to the Lynx for a short while before signing with the Sun in August 2022 on a seven-day contract.

Sims was back in Dallas this year playing in the Athletes Unlimited league when she suffered a calf injury early in the season. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“Having my injury helped me develop more patience with myself, my child, relationships like my family friends,” she says. “Just transitioning, then being able to come back to Dallas.”

That’s when the Wings called. They weren’t getting much out of their bench, and they were looking for players who could contribute. Sims signed a hardship contract on June 7 and appeared in four games, averaging almost five points and six assists in 20 minutes a game. She was released when Crystal Dangerfield returned from injury, but the Wings liked what they had seen. On June 28, Sims was re-signed for the remainder of the season. 

She has provided a spark off the bench, and the Wings are playing their best basketball of the season. Before a loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night, they had run off five straight victories. Still, they are tied for fourth in the league with a 13-10 record, and are comfortably in second place in the Western Conference. They are the only team to beat both the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty, the top two teams in the standings. Sims has chipped in with 4.1 assists per game, second on the team behind Arike Ogunbowale. 

When Sims was released, first-year Wings coach Latricia Trammell said she hoped their paths would cross again. And now they have. “I’m an Odyssey Sims fan,” Trammell says. “I love her game. She deserves to be in this league. She’s an incredible player, but an even better mother. She’s a great leader in her position. You can’t have enough of that.”

Wings forward Satou Sabally says Sims brings “grit and experience” to the team. 

Adds Ogunbowale: “She’s been around the league for a while and knows the ins and outs. Definitely having her voice on the bench is good for us.”

Sims knows she is in an enviable position: a second chance with the franchise that drafted her, playing in front of family, friends and fans who adore her, on a team that has a chance to make noise in the postseason. 

She is soaking it all in and credits becoming a mother for the very real and humble Odyssey Sims whom many see now.

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Odyssey Sims credits her son, Jaiden, for playing a key role in her maturation. Photo courtesy of Dallas Wings.

“Being a parent is so fun,” Sims says. “The joy I have of having my child. I wake up, and I want to make him proud. He’s my determination, my motivation. Everything is just different, and he’s helped me grow. I want to do everything I can…”

She pauses. Practice is over, and she sees Jaiden running her way. “There he is,” she says, unable to contain her glee. Mother and Son exchange a hearty hug. “I want to make him proud and continue to be happy. That’s all.”

Even amid all of the tough times, Sims says she never thought her career was over. 

“I learned from it, I grew from it, now I’m here,” she says. “I want you to feel my joy. I can’t stress it enough. I am so happy to be back. I love my teammates and everyone. I had to learn, I had to figure it out. It took me some years in the league, but I figured it out. It’s all about timing. God’s timing.”

And it’s led her right back to where she’s meant to be.

Author

Dorothy J. Gentry

Dorothy J. Gentry

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Dorothy J. Gentry covers the Wings for StrongSide. A native Dallasite, she is a journalist and educator who covers the…

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