It’s 3 a.m. on a Monday and while you may have just submitted your homework assignment a few hours ago and slipped into bed, Danielle Gezzi is up and already at work. Dedication and tenacity are more than just essay lengtheners, they’re the way in which Gezzi centers her life. The 20-year-old De Anza women’s basketball team captain and kinesiology major said bringing her best to the table is what she strives for in every aspect of her life.
Raised by a single mother in the southside of San Jose, Gezzi said growing up wasn’t without its challenges. She credited her mother for enrolling her in sports from the early age of five and which laid the foundation for her hard work and perseverance.
“My mom taught me to never just give up on a task just because I didn’t know how to do it,” said Gezzi. “You figure out a way to keep pursuing and struggle through the process. You actually have to fail to succeed.”
While she acknowledges that her height of 5’3 has been an obstacle to overcome on the court, Gezzi said she chooses to focus on her strengths instead which include driving and getting to the basket.
Gezzi also cites her older brother, a former D1 college athlete, as an inspiration and an example of what can happen when hard work pays off.
Gezzi’s educational goals aren’t too different from most De Anza students: get good grades and get into a good four year college.
However, the goals don’t end there. With the news of the WNBA raising their maximum base salary she said it’s reignited her desire to pursue the professional route.
Gezzi said this news was something she’d hoped for since high school after being inspired by all the growing movements for women’s equality that occurred at the time.
“I’m gay so I don’t want to stand on a man to help me pay for my bills. I want to do it on my own,” said Gezzi. “But even for independent women, why do we need a man to stand on to help us provide for our families if we can do it on our own as well?”
Gezzi’s professional aspirations remain in the future. In the present, she can be found trying to keep her Youtube channel updated, making time for friends, balancing a full-time school schedule with work and most importantly finding ways to get more than four hours of sleep.