MU Life, Spotlights

Hoops or Heels?

A paring so unique that not everyone can do it, Jamaya Shabazz is a senior here at Mercyhurst University who often trades in her stylish shoes for worn-down basketball sneakers. Few are familiar with Jamaya’s two lifestyles, but those who are, realize who this talented young lady really is. I recently sat down with the student athlete to talk all things fashion and sports.

Amber Renz: “Oh hey girl. I’m writing this creative piece on you and how you, unlike most, are able to balance the daily grind in the classroom, while continuously working hard on the court.”

Jamaya Shabazz: “Hi! Wow, thanks I feel honored, but let me tell you, it’s not easy.”

Ashlee Rzyczycki, one of Jamaya’s fashion professors, sees first hand what it takes for Jamaya to succeed in the classroom, noting that time management is a necessary strong suit. “She is not one to procrastinate because I think it has to do with how busy she is,” Rzyczycki said.

AR: “For those who don’t know you, how would you describe your fashion sense? Also, do you think basketball falls in the way of your style on the day to day basis?”

JS: “My style is an edgy take on modern trends. And Yes. ABSOUTELY.”

Many people see Jamaya strutting her stuff down the hallway on the third floor of Old Main, but her roommate, Lauren, often witnesses the other side of Jamaya’s life. “She definitely plays with her own attitude and swagger,” she said. “She has a very outgoing personality which is apparent on and off the floor.”

AR: Do you feel that there are similar attributes that you take from the court to the classroom?

JS: “I would say my passion but also my light-heartedness.”

AR: “Have you ever lost yourself trying to balance both basketball and fashion?”

JS: “Never. I know who I am. I do not find my identity in either fashion or basketball. They are passions of mine. I find my identity in being a child of God.”

AR: “Okay, now the tough question – if you had to live with one of these two options what would you choose? Your fashion sense or basketball ability?”

JS: “Hands down, fashion sense.”

AR: “Well Jamaya, one semester stands in the way of you and your future. Any advice for other student athletes, especially a fashion student?”

JS: “My biggest suggestion is to embrace both super powers. Few can be an elite athlete competing at a high level and look fabulous and beautiful while doing so. Never try to hide or be ashamed of either side of you…showcase it!”

AR: “Thank you, Jamaya! Best of luck and much love.”

Overall, Jamaya lives the best of both worlds and embraces both full force. It may be difficult at times to manage her daily life, but her intuition never fails her. She’s more than just a student athlete. She’s a friend, daughter, sister, and she’s a young woman who doesn’t let outside influences change her.

Amber Renz, '20

Athleisure wear is my life saver.