Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Patricia “Ticha” Penicheiro

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  Angola
  • 2014  –  South Africa
  • 2014  –  Rwanda

Growing up in Portugal, Patricia “Ticha” Penicheiro was introduced to basketball by her father and brother when she was just five years old. Immediately hooked on the sport, Ticha spent countless hours on the playground courts proving girls can play sports too. All the teasing and blocking she received as a female playing with her older and stronger male counterparts groomed her for what was to come, which was more than she could have ever imagined.

Before long, Ticha had developed the “American Dream” and decided she wanted to come to the United States and attend a university. After being offered a few full basketball scholarships, Ticha chose to attend Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, VA and in 1994 packed her bags and left her country, her family and her friends to follow her dream.

From 1994 through 1998, Ticha grew as a woman and a basketball player while helping to position ODU back to a place of national recognition as a Top 25 team for the majority of her college career. Seeing her dreams come true before her eyes, Ticha was considered one of the top players in the United States. By 1998, Ticha was a two-time Kodak All-American player and won the prestigious Wade Trophy Award. Inspired to work toward her next career milestone, Ticha followed along with the first season of the WNBA in 1997, ready to make her move.

Upon graduating ODU in 1998, she was quickly drafted as second pick overall and headed to Sacramento, CA to begin her career playing in the best women’s professional basketball league in the world. For the next 12 years, California became Ticha’s home and before the Sacramento Monarchs folded in 2009, they were able to bring a WNBA championship to the city in 2005. Ticha’s next career move was to former rivals, the Los Angeles Sparks where she played two seasons. Then in 2012, she joined the Chicago Sky for her 15th and last season in the WNBA.

Through it all, Ticha is most grateful for the amazing friends she made and has created lifetime memories. “Being European, I loved heading to Europe and continuing to get my passport stamped visiting so many different countries through basketball.”

Ticha had a stellar professional career. Looking back, Ticha has humbly exceeded her expectations in moving across the country from Portugal to America as a young woman. Under her belt are three different WNBA teams, four-time All Star, a first team All League a few times and was able to leave her mark as one of the best passers in the league. Following such a successful and adventurous career, Ticha has finally retired and decided to follow her heart and become a sports agent, “becoming a sports’ agent is something Ive always seen myself doing because it will keep me close to the game I love and I will be able to help players make a smoother transition to the professional basketball world”, Ticha said.

Ticha is now the Director of Women’s Basketball at the Sports International Group (SIG).

Jennifer Lacy

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  Nicaragua
  • 2016  –  Angola

Jenn Lacy is a former American professional basketball player of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

A native of Agoura Hills, California, Lacy played collegiate basketball at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, averaging 9.1 points per game in 103 games over four years. Lacy went undrafted in the 2006 WNBA Draft and joined the Phoenix Mercury for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, winning the 2007 WNBA Championship. She went on to play for the Atlanta Dream (2008-09), Tulsa Shock (2010-14), Los Angeles Sparks (2015) and Connecticut Sun (2015). Lacy played professionally in China during the 2008-09 WNBA offseason with Beijing Shougang.

Jason Collins

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Brazil
  • 2016  –  Angola

Jason Collins is an American professional basketball player of the National Basketball As-sociation (NBA).

Collins attended Stanford University, where he was an All-American in the 2000-2001 sea-son. He was also named to the All Pac-10 First Team and awarded the NABC Pete Newell “Big Man of the Year” Award. He finished his college career ranked first in Stanford history for field goal percentage and third in blocked shots. Upon graduating with a B.A. from Stan-ford, Collins was selected in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft with the 18th overall pick. Now a 13-year veteran, Collins has played center for six teams including New Jersey, Mem-phis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston, Washington and, most recently, the Brooklyn Nets (former-ly the New Jersey Nets). Doc Rivers, who coached Collins during his time with the Boston Celtics, said of Collins: “He’s the best. He literally is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room, player or coach.” In his 13 years in the league, Collins’ teams earned 10 trips to the playoffs including 2 NBA Finals appearances.

After the 2012-13 NBA season concluded, Collins publicly came out as gay in a cover story for Sports Illustrated, becoming the first male active player in any of the four major American professional sports to announce that he is gay. President Obama expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement and said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, rec-ognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Collins has traveled the country with the mis-sion of empowering people to live their lives as their true selves, and has become an active member of numerous charities, foundations and organizations. In 2013, GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, honored Collins with the Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards. In 2014, Logo TV honored Collins with its inaugural Trailblazer Award. Also in 2014, the Matthew Shepard Foundation honored Collins with its Making a Difference Award at its annual Honors Gala.

In April 2014, Collins was featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He currently serves on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, which works to motivate Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle via physical activity and nutrition. Collins resides in Los Angeles, California.