Kara Lawson emerged on the national scene as one of the best high school basketball players in the country. In 1998, she was named to the United States’ World Youth Games team and was elected captain. Finishing second on the team in scoring, Lawson spearheaded the team to a bronze medal finish in Moscow, Russia. She also led the team in assists and steals.
She finished her high school career as the most highly decorated player out of the state of Virginia. Out of West Springfield High School, her Spartan teams finished 83-2 and garnered two state undefeated championship seasons. She was a two time state player of the year, and was named an All-American by multiple publications following her senior season. Lawson received the most prestigious high school award when she won the 1999 Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award, recognizing her as the best player in the country.
At the University of Tennessee, Kara excelled both on and off the court. Lawson led the Lady Vols to three NCAA Women’s Final Four appearances in 2000, 2002, and 2003. Continuing her association with USA Basketball, Lawson captained the 2001 World University Games team to a gold medal in Beijing, China. Once again, leading the team in assists and steals. She grabbed 1st Team All-SEC Team honors all four years. In 2003, her senior year at UT, Kara was named a Kodak All American.
An Academic All-American, Kara graduated with a degree in finance. She was a member of the Financial Management Association, President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and member of the UT Athletics Board. As a senior she won the Torchbearer Award, the highest honor an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee can receive. In 2004 she was the recipient of the NCAA’s Top VIII award. Her work in the Knoxville, TN community during her college career saw her participate in over 100 community service projects.
Kara was selected 5th overall in the WNBA Draft. In 2005, Lawson played a key role in leading the Monarchs to the best regular season record and the franchise’s first WNBA Championship. When the Monarchs returned to the WNBA Finals in 2006, Lawson set a WNBA Finals’ record by hitting 6 three pointers in Game 1.
In 2007, Kara was named to the WNBA All-Star Team. In 2008, she headed to Beijing and helped the USA win an Olympic gold medal, shooting a perfect 5-5 from the field and leading the team in scoring in the gold medal game. She led the team in assists as well. At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Kara received the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.
After playing her first seven professional seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs, Kara had a successful stint with the Connecticut Sun before joining her hometown Washington Mystics in 2014.
Off the court, Lawson began her broadcasting career at the age of 23. Over the past eight seasons, Kara has become one of the go-to voices in college basketball. She has covered hundreds of games including being of part of ESPN’s studio team for 5 Final Fours. She has served in a variety of capacities, game analyst, studio analyst and sideline reporter while covering men’s and women’s college basketball as well as the NBA. As the lead studio analyst for the Sacramento Kings’ pre and post game shows, she was an integral part of the Kings’ broadcast team for three seasons.
Kara is a passionate advocate for fitness and personal health. She is a member of the First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign and is an active participant in the NBA Fit program. This past November, Kara, along with her husband Damien, raised nearly $18,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association New York City Chapter. The couple raised the money in honor of Kara’s coach at the University of Tennessee, Pat Summitt.