Sue Wicks is most famous for her impressive basketball career. She played with the WNBA’s New York Liberty for six years, setting multiple records and eventually earning an induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. But now that Wicks has retired from playing pro basketball, she has a new passionate career — she’s an oyster farmer in Long Island, New York.
“My first memories are being on the water with my brother and my dad, right in this bay, treading for clams in the summer,” Wicks said.
Even throughout Wicks’ career in college and professional basketball, the sea was never far from her mind. When she traveled for games, she always tried to stay at places that were close to water.
“All around the world — everywhere I went — my agent would say, ‘Do you want this place or that place?’ And I’d be like, ‘Which is closest to a body of water?'” Wicks said. “So that was always part of my choice: where I wanted to live, and where I wanted to be.”
Then, she says, she had the opportunity to be an oyster farmer. She had “no idea” how, but she knew she wanted to try. “I had a little help, certainly, from another farmer teaching me an internship on his farm — just the basics. I just jumped right into it,” Wicks says. “I made a ton of mistakes and enjoyed every one of them and learned from them.”
Surprisingly, she’s taken some lessons from her athletic career into her new work at Violet Cove.
“I get a thrill out of trying to put everything back together and solve a puzzle and get better, and that’s what sports is all about,” she says. “You get knocked down, you have to get right back up and figure out what you did wrong in a very short amount of time, and you have to let it go.”
This will be Wicks’ second year of oyster farming, and she’s enjoying every minute of it.