Best Local Girl Gone Good (2005)
Basketball was about all that Sandora Irvin had when she grew up in Pompano Beach. Her mother spent her time on the streets, a drug addict. Her father, Daughn Irvin (former Dallas Cowboys' star Michael Irvin's younger brother), wasn't around much. So she was raised mostly by grandparents, coaches, and anybody else kind enough to help. The only place that Irvin, who was so thin she was nicknamed "Paper," really felt at home was on the court. Growing to six-foot-four, she excelled on her Fort Lauderdale High School team, earning numerous All-American honors and leading the Flying L's to a state championship in 2001. Heavily recruited by major programs, she chose to attend little-known Texas Christian University. And there, during the past four years, she became the all-time -- that's right, all-time -- NCAA blocks leader. In her 2005 senior campaign, she swatted an incredible 4.7 shots a game. She also averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.4 steals -- and solidified her status as a sure-fire top-five draft pick in the WNBA. But it wasn't easy. During the middle of her college career, she was wracked with anger at her parents for abandoning her and nearly quit the game. Rather than succumb to self-destruction, she achieved perhaps her most significant feat. She forgave them.