Ridin' With Cierra: Bright Lights, Big Dreams

June 2, 2014



Tennessee rising senior basketball player Cierra Burdick has begun a very busy summer. The 6-foot-2 senior from Charlotte, North Carolina (Butler H.S.) has been to Colorado Springs twice, helping her team win a qualifying tournament to become USA Basketball's top 3x3 women's squad and preparing to represent her country for this weekend's FIBA World Championship tournament in Russia.

She also moved to New York City for the summer to serve as an intern at ABC's Good Morning America. She clocked in for her first day at GMA last week and will return to duty there when she returns from Moscow.

We'll be "Ridin' With Cierra" this summer, as she shares her experiences with USA Basketball and ABC's long-running morning show. We hope you'll join her on the trip and enjoy her first installment.

Bright Lights, Big Dreams

    As I sit in the LaGuardia Airport thinking about what words I should type to help others understand and experience the unbelievable opportunities I've had since the start of the summer, I can't help but think of all the people who have helped me get here. From USA Basketball to my internship with Good Morning America, not one of these accomplishments came solely by my doing. So before I delve into the subways, pigeons, and taxis, I would like to say thank you to all of my friends, family and coaches for continuing to support me as I chase my dreams.

    Since moving to New York I've had to learn a few city-life essentials. Being born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and spending the past three years of my life in Knoxville, Tennessee, the subway system was about the last thing on the planet that I knew how to navigate. But thanks to my handy-dandy iPhone and the life-saving HopStop subway app, I've managed to get everywhere I needed to go and have yet to get lost. (Knock on wood) I also managed to whistle down my first taxi and take it to the airport; quite the accomplishment for a Southerner like me, if I do say so myself. However, if I'm being completely honest, I'm glad I'm walking and taking subways and taxis everywhere because there is no way I could drive myself around and make it out alive in the Big Apple. I've learned that it is definitely every man for himself on the New York streets. It is a completely different beast!

    Speaking of beasts, let's talk about the pigeons here. So far my experience in the Big Apple has been great, EXCEPT for these brainless, ill-advised, simple-minded pigeons. For some reason, they think my hair is their nest and insist on swooping down and taking off within inches of my head. For the four days that I've been in New York, I've already had to dip and dodge three pigeons. As if my matrix-like moves didn't draw enough attention, of course I had to accompany them with a few fearful squeals and screams and an "ohhhhhhh, shoot!" here and there. If anyone knows of any pigeon-repellant please reach out to me as soon as possible. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Anyway, on a more positive note, one of the highlights of my summer so far, and especially since I've been in New York, was going to the New York Liberty vs. Seattle Storm WNBA game and seeing my former teammate, Shekinna Stricklen, play. To say it was good to see her would be a vast understatement. The game was great, but the time I got to spend with Strick after the game and the next morning was even better. It's always good to see a familiar face under the bright lights in the big city.

    What's coming up next? I've been in Colorado Springs with USA Basketball over the weekend practicing and preparing to fly to Russia for the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Championships in Moscow on June 5-8. Our team includes Sara Hammond of Louisville, Jewell Loyd of Notre Dame, Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina and me.

    After hopefully winning my fourth gold medal as a part of the USA team, I'll return to New York and continue my journey with Robin Roberts and Good Morning America.

    Until next time, be blessed, be great, be dreamers.

    -- Cierra





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