A Mid-South woman has made history not only on the basketball court, but in her hometown. At 22 years old, Chelsey Perry is playing in the WNBA and said no matter where she goes, she will never forget where she came from.
Coming from Middleton, a city with about 2,000 people, she describes herself as a small town girl with big dreams.
“I’ve had so many hometown fans and supporters just reaching out to me and wanting to come to games,” Perry said.
Her support stretches from Middleton, Tennessee to Indianapolis, where Chelsey is the youngest member of the WNBA team, the Indiana Fever.
“From the start I’ve always had a dream to play in the ‘W.’ Telling them my hometown, they were like ‘Where is that at?’ They know by my accent that I’m kind of a little country so they always pick on me.”
Chelsey started playing basketball when she was six, coached by her dad. Now 6’2, she is living out her wildest dream.
A force in the paint and a weapon from the outside, Chelsey made history at UT Martin. She was the first woman from the school to get picked up in the draft and the highest draft pick from her conference.
How do you put that feeling into words? When you hear your name and you’re like, “I worked so long for this.” How was that for you?
“It was a shocker. From the first moment until I got to training camp, I was like, ‘Am I really here with all of these professional players?’” Perry said.
She’s the university’s program all-time leader with 228 career blocks, the third-time leading scorer and the fourth in field goals.
“A lot of people reached out to me in my hometown, saying they want autographics and stuff and I was like, how about I just come home and I get to engage with my Hardeman County people,” Perry said.
Never forgetting the past is what brought her to this point.
Chelsey went home to Hardeman County to connect with her hometown family and fans and the town of Middleton presented her with a plaque naming Nov. 6 as Chelsey Perry Day.
A symbol of her past right beside her, as she carries Middleton with her to the big league.
“Learn to love to be uncomfortable, no matter what situation you are in. If you are willing and wanting to grow, you have to want to be uncomfortable. With uncomfortability, you have adversity,” Perry said.