Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Katie Smith

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2011  –  India

Katie Smith was born on June 4, 1974, in Logan, Ohio. She began playing basketball in the fifth grade. Smith attended The Ohio State University from 1992-1996, where she excelled on the basketball court. As a freshman, she led the Buckeyes to the NCAA championship game and was named Sports Illustrated and Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Kodak All-American first team. She finished her Ohio State career as the leading scorer in Big Ten women’s basketball history and was the first woman to have her basketball jersey number retired at Ohio State.
In her first season of professional basketball Smith led the Columbus Quest to the American Basketball League (ABL) title. Smith repeated as ABL champion with the Quest in 1998, the league’s last season. Smith joined the Minnesota Lynx of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) for the 1999 season. The six-time WNBA All-Star lead the league in scoring in 2001 and became the first American Professional Woman to score 4,000 points. She was traded to the Detroit Shock in 2005 and earned two WNBA titles with the team in 2006 and 2008, earning Finals MVP honors in 2008. She is a two-time All-WNBA first team member (2001, 2003), two-time All-WNBA second team member (2000, 2002) and was named to the WNBA All-Decade team in 2006. In 2010, Smith signed a free agent contract with the Washington Mystics.
Smith has also achieved basketball success in international competition. She is a three-time Olympic gold medalist for USA (2000, 2004 and 2008) and two-time World Champion (1998 and 2002). She was named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 2008.
Throughout her career Smith has been an active member of the community as she served as spokesperson for the United Way Race Relations Department in Ohio, was an Olympic torchbearer in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2002 Salt Lake Games, and was honored by the Columbus Touchdown Club as the Ohio State Female Athlete of the Century.

George Gervin

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2011  –  India

George Gervin’s playing record speaks volumes. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan have won more league scoring titles than Gervin’s four, and he was the first guard ever to win three in a row. His career scoring average of 26.2 points per game is among the game’s best as is his combined NBA/ABA total of 26,595 points.
George “The Iceman” Gervin was born April 27, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. Gervin, who began his career in the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the Virginia Squires, later played in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. Gervin averaged at least 14 points per game in all 14 of his ABA and NBA seasons, and finished with an NBA career average of 26.2 points per game.
Nicknamed Iceman for his cool demeanor on the court, Gervin was primarily known for his scoring talents. He led teams at both Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Long Beach State. After leaving college, Gervin signed with the Virginia Squires of the ABA. According to legend, Gervin made 22 of 25 three-point attempts at the tryout and was immediately signed.

His first three scoring titles were consecutive from 1978 to 1980 and his fourth came in 1982. In 1978, he narrowly edged David Thompson for the scoring title by seven hundredths of a point (27.22 to 27.15), overcoming Thompson’s historic 73 points on the last night of the season with his own 63 point night, including a record 33 points in the second quarter. Gervin earned five selections to the All-NBA First Team and appeared in nine straight NBA All-Star Games during his NBA career.

When he left the NBA, Gervin played for several years in Italy for Banco Roma during the 1986-87 season, and in the Spanish National Basketball League for TDK Manresa team. He averaged 25.5 points, 5 rebounds and 1.2 assists, and in his last match he scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to keep Manresa in the Spanish first division.
After his playing days were completed Gervin worked as a community relations representative for the Spurs until 1992, when Head Coach John Lucas made him an assistant. After two seasons on the bench, he returned to his position in the community relations department in 1994.

Gervin’s No. 44 jersey has been retired by the Spurs. And in 1996, Gervin enjoyed a banner year as he was named to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Joe Logan

Baseball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Colombia
  • 2010  –  Taiwan
  • 2011  –  South Korea
  • 2011  –  Philippines
  • 2012  –  Ecuador
  • 2013  –  India
  • 2015  –  Lithuania

Joe Logan was All American pitcher for Florida Southern College when the Moccasins won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1988. He had previously played for Chipola Junior College where he also won All American honors.

The Montréal Expos took him in the 28th round of the 1989 amateur draft. Joe played minor league ball in the Montréal Expos organization from 1989-1991, then played one year in the independent Northern League in 1993. He was 4-7 with a 2.88 ERA in his pro debut for the Jamestown Jammers to help them to the New York-Penn League title. He split 1990 between the Rockford Expos (10-2, 2.63) and West Palm Beach Expos (1-0, 1.88). Had he qualified, he would have been 5th in the Midwest League in ERA, just ahead of Pat Rapp. Back with West Palm Beach in 1991, he fell to 6-12, 3.18. In 1993, he was 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA for the Sioux Falls Canaries to finish with a 21-22, 3.13 record in pro ball.

After his Major League Baseball career ended, Joe was a minor league pitching coach for the Anaheim Angels from 1994-2000. Since 2002, Joe Logan has served as coach for the Orlando Reds AAU organization and he continues to work with collegiate and professional baseball players on a regular basis.

Barry Larkin

Baseball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Colombia
  • 2010  –  Ecuador
  • 2011  –  India
  • 2012  –  Lithuania
  • 2013  –  South Korea
  • 2015  –  Taiwan

Barry Larkin a 19-year Major Leaguer, 12-time National League All-Star, 1995 N.L. Most Valuable Player and MLB Network studio analyst, spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds. Larkin served as Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Washington Nationals, specializing in player development and scouting. Larkin also participated in Major League Baseball’s efforts, led by Jim Lefebvre, to develop and train the Chinese National Baseball Team in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Larkin was selected by the Reds in the first round (fourth overall) in 1985 following a standout career at the University of Michigan. Larkin batted .353 in the 1990 World Series to help lead the Reds to a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics. He won three consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards from 1994-96. He earned 1995 N.L. MVP honors by hitting .319 with 15 home runs, 66 RBI and 51 stolen bases. In 1996, Larkin became the first Major League shortstop to join the 30-30 club when he hit 33 home runs and stole 36 bases. Larkin was named the Reds’ captain before the 1997 season.

Larkin batted .295, with 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, 960 RBI, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Baseball historian Bill James has called Larkin one of the greatest shortstops of all time, ranking him #6 all-time in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.

In 1993 Larkin won the Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s highest off-field honor, for his philanthropy. In 2008, Larkin released a charity wine called “Barry Larkin’s Merlot,” with 100% of his proceeds supporting Champions Sports Foundation.

Natasha Watley

Softball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  India
  • 2014  –  Mexico
  • 2014  –  Cuba

Natasha Watley has mastered softball on every level she has played and competed in; from travel ball from a very young age, all the way through her professional career by taking home a gold medal from the 2004 Olympics & a silver medal from 2008 Olympics.

During the 2004 Olympics, Watley, assisted the US Softball Team on their third consecutive gold medal in Athens, by breaking the Olympic record for stolen bases, and was third on the team with a .400 batting average, with 9 hits and 10 RBI. During the 2008 Olympics, Watley hit .321 in the leadoff position with two home runs and six RBIs.
Also internationally, Watley is a two –time Pan American Gold Medalist (2003 & 2007), three-time World Champion (2002, 2006, 2010), and a four-time World Cup Champion (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010).
As a four-time All- American short stop, Watley, led her UCLA softball team to three straight Woman’s College World Series and the NCAA Divsion 1 Softball Championship title in 2003. She was awarded the Honda- Broderick Cup for top collegiate female athlete, as well as PAC 10 Player of the Year award, in 2003. She was a starter for the Bruins all four years and finished top three in career his (395), top five in career runs (252), top ten in career batting average (.450) and top ten in career stolen bases (158). Watley holds the single season record for hits (112) and is currently ranked fourth in Pac- 10 history; as well as seventh on the all –time NCAA record books with 112 hits in a single season.

In Watley’s high school years, she was named second team Louisville Slugger All- American. She hit over .445 in her last three seasons of high school softball, in addition to stealing over 20 bases stolen each season.

Though, she was a superstar on the softball field, Watley managed to balance her education, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a minor in Afro- American Studies from UCLA. She received her Masters Degree in Business from Saint Leo University.
Currently Natasha Watley is playing professionally in Japan for Team Toyota, competing in the National Professional Fastpitch league with the USSSA Pride.

The Natasha Watley brand is expanding daily. Natasha runs many camps and clinics throughout the nation, has an instructional DVD on the market titled “The Art of Slapping”, and sponsors a 12U Team Watley, in Southern California. Watley is very concerned with the development of today’s youth and cares deeply for underprivileged children.

The Natasha Watley Foundation (NWF) is her newest expansion; which is a public, non profit, national community service organization. Watley uses NWF as a vehicle to help bring the sport of softball to young girls in the nation’s inner cities. The foundation provides an opportunity for young women to compete in leagues and on teams when financial resources are limited; and provides a positive alternative to the every day struggles they may endure in the inner cities.