Dani Seitz, 28, was always the tall girl in school, destined to play basketball. She shares why it became much more than a game to her.
Photo: Jana Kirn/Free People Movement
You don’t realize how much you work out during a basketball game until you’re unlacing your sneakers afterward, when the exhaustion kind of blindsides you. Your shoulders and calves throb. Out on the court, I’m always too focused on making that next shot or defending my opponent. And if you block my layup, all I’m thinking is, You’re going down, ha ha! By the time I’ve high-fived everyone, I’ve just gone through a range of emotions from good to bad, excited to frustrated, and I did it with a team of people who share that love of the game. It’s so special.
I’m six feet tall, and I played power forward on basketball teams back home in Kelowna, British Columbia, until I was 16. But I had to give it up once I began modeling. When I moved to New York City at 21, all these guys played on the courts on my block, and one day I asked if I could join. I loved it. As a model, I always travel alone, so I craved having a crew. I also needed to find a passion for when I’m not working, which can be months if it’s really slow.
I created a monthly meet-up called Lady Ballerz to bring women together through basketball. We have a coach teach us fundamentals, then we use what we’ve learned in a scrimmage at the end. There’s no judgment—you can travel with the ball and we’ll keep playing. A lot of the players are fellow models who have to avoid getting bruised, so I’m always shouting “no fouls!” Basketball has created the best community I could ask for. But even more, those few hours bring me confidence in so many ways. (Related: Squash Is Considered the World's Fittest Sport—Here's Why)
Basketball inspo: In Canada, I didn’t grow up following professional basketball. Instead, I watched my mom, who played in our city’s women’s league. I just started watching the NBA the past few years, and I am hooked. I’m rooting for the Toronto Raptors, of course. (If you're watching too, keep an eye out for these hot NBA players.)
Must-have equipment: All you pretty much need to play basketball is a Spalding ball ($80, amazon.com). I have so many different basketball sneakers, but I really like the Nike LeBron Soldier 10. (Get your hands on the latest version, the Nike Lebron Soldier 11, for $90 at dickssportinggoods.com.)