ST. LOUIS — St. Louis sports entrepreneur Khalia Collier is committed in her career pursuits.
“Dedication sees dreams come true,” she said.
The quote by late NBA star Kobe Bryant speaks directly to her own basketball dreams. She began playing the game as a little girl.
“Basketball is my first love. It’s been the sport that I’ve loved since I was 5 years old, since my dad was my first basketball coach,” Collier told 5 On Your Side.
When she grew up, her love for the game took her from the basketball court to the boardroom.
In 2011, at the age of 23, she bought the St. Louis Surge. She turned the professional women’s team into a winning organization. The Surge has won two national championships and numerous regional titles.
“This is 11 years of building and grinding and trailblazing. I was determined to make it work,” she said.
But even with her success with the Surge, Collier still had bigger goals in basketball.
“Anyone that’s ever met me knows that it’s always been a goal for me to work in the NBA,” she said.
The Fort Zumwalt South grad recently reached her goal. She’s been hired by the Dallas Mavericks to serve as their new vice president and chief of staff of basketball operations.
“The Mavs is a dream come true,” she said.
Collier has had her share of stereotypes along her way to breaking through the glass ceiling in the sports world.
“I think as a Black woman I understood that the odds were always just about stacked against me. The whole notion that you have to show up better, that you truly have no ability to be average. Complacency is not an option. Those are things I’ve kind of worn as a chip on my shoulder with great pride,” said Collier.
The mind set has fueled her work ethic throughout her career.
“Every day I’m supposed to win the day,” she said. “It’s a continuous pursuit. The mantra of better is possible, good is not enough, is instilled in me every single day. It’s truly engrained in me.”
While she is pursuing her goals, Collier believes she’s also opening doors for others.
“I’m not one of one anymore. I’m one of few. But that few is growing to a larger number. You’re seeing opportunities that didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago,” she said.
She also believes in sharing her journey and recently spoke at a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit. She sees her story as way of showing the audience what is possible.
“You can’t be what you can’t see. I just don’t want any Black girl out there to ever second guess her value because you’re enough. The ability to defy the odds applies to all of us,” she said.