Today, Reign of Troy is going to pay homage to TWO Trojans for Black History Month, because it’s not every day that one gets to acknowledge a set of twins that left a lasting impression on a university. I’m talking about none other than Paula and Pamela McGee, the third (and fourth) elements of the All-Star team that was USC in the mid-80s.
Paula and Pam McGee grew up in Flint, Michigan, where they got their start in lady hoops. Like their teammates Cynthia Cooper and Cheryl Miller, they dominated other players of their age and there was no question that they would play ball at the collegiate level. At six-feet, four inches tall, the two of them were an imposing duo in the post. When it came time to pick a school to attend for college, they both chose USC, which gave the Trojans an incredible advantage over other teams.
And based on our tributes of their teammates, this cannot be disputed.
The McGee twins were a part of the back to back championship run that the Women of Troy went on in 1983 and 1984, and both were All-Americans. Pam McGee developed a reputation as a beast of a rebounder, averaging 8.6 rebounds per game during all four years of her career. Paula too made an incredible impact on this squad, putting up an average of 20 points and almost 10 rebounds (9.2) per game in her freshman year. To this day, her 683 points and 289 field goals stand as freshman records.
They both set a number of other school records that are well-documented throughout USC’s basketball arena, the Galen Center: Pam McGee grabbed 1,255 total boards throughout her career (second all-time), and put up 2,214 points (sixth all-time). She went on to compete on the 1984 U.S. Women’s Basketball team, returning home with a gold medal. At the end of the 1980-81 season, she made the WCAA All-Conference Second team; in 1983-1984 she was named a Kodak and ABA-USA All-American, and she was a three-time WCAA First Team All-Conference member. Paula scored 2,436 points over her career (fourth all-time), put up 993 field goals (second all-time) and blocked 190 shots (third all-time) over the course of four years. She too received all kinds of accolades: she was named a WBCA All-American in the 1981-82 season; a Kodak All-American in the 1982-83 season; she made the 1983-84 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team; and like her sister, Paula was named to the WCAA First Team, but she received the honor all four years.
With both of them having such dominant collegiate careers, one would think that they both would pursue careers in the WNBA. However, the similarities between the McGee twins stopped when their college hoops days were over.
Paula hung up her sneaks and became an ordained minister, pursuing her “life’s calling” to preach. She is now known as Reverend Paula McGee, and is currently pursuing a Ph. D in Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA. She is also penning a book called Accepting Your Greatness.
Pamela on the other hand did pursue a professional career. At age 34, she was drafted second overall in the 1997 WNBA draft. She played in the league for two seasons, with the Sacramento Monarchs and the Los Angeles Sparks. She also played overseas briefly, with stints in Brazil, Spain, Italy, and France. Later, she had two children: a daughter, Imani, and a son, JaVale. JaVale McGee is a current NBA player with the Washington Wizards, making Pamela the first WNBA player to have a child play in the NBA.
Just this past weekend on February 19th, 2012, USC honored the McGee twins’ illustrious career by retiring their jerseys: No. 30 for Pamela and No. 11 for Paula. They now hang in the rafters, next to the likes of their teammates Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper, and another Trojan legend of a different generation, Lisa Leslie.
It is only fitting then that Reign of Troy also honors them, for their hard work that one—or two, in this case—can hope to duplicate.
Fight On Forever, Pamela and Paula McGee!