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Mariah Burton Nelson

I met an interesting woman at a recent dinner. She played basketball at Stanford in the early years of Title IX. She witnessed firsthand the slow progress leveling the playing field at that institution. It went from women basketball players having uniforms with taped on numbers to being allowed to play in “the men’s gym.”

Her name is Mariah Burton Nelson. She played professional basketball with the New Jersey Gems by way of France and later the Dallas Diamonds, San Francisco Pioneers, and California Dreams. However, in those days, if the players were paid anything, the check might bounce.

In our conversation, Nelson did not lead with basketball, but with swimming. Her passion for water is clear from the home page of her website.

Speaking of her website, Nelson posted there an article she did for Forbes Magazine. Co-authored with Donna Lopiano, it is an essay entitled A Fair and Inclusive Solution for Transgender Women in Sports. It’s a thoughtful treatment of a current topic.

Check out Nelson’s website at

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