Written on October 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm , by Karla Walsh
Looking at the crowd of scouts on the sidelines at the NBA pre-draft camp about five years ago, you might not have even realized that there was a woman in the mix. “I suited up in baggy sweats and put my hair up in a baseball cap,” says Bonnie-Jill Laflin, the first and only scout for the men’s basketball league. “I didn’t want to be judged by the way I looked or be treated any differently than the men. But I was inspired to be my true self when one of the men in the crowd came up and said, ‘As long as you know what you’re doing, who cares what you look like?’”
Today, the former Miss Dallas-Fort Worth is enjoying her career—without disguises—and is spreading the word about achieving her dreams and supporting causes close to her heart.
What was your career path like to become an NBA scout?
I actually started as a cheerleader, first for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA and later for the San Francisco 49ers NFL team, because I heard that was the easiest way to get into the industry. Then I went back to school at the University of Texas for my broadcast journalism degree to pursue sport broadcasting. I covered the Los Angeles Lakers, and the general manager and owner of the team asked if I was interested in becoming a scout for their organization. They knew I had knowledge of the game and what to look for in a player.
Click below to learn about breaking sports barriers and Laflin’s love of animals.