13 - 19
August 2023
2 Aisha Marie Sheppard (JOR)
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Aisha inspiring Asia: ''Everybody's journey is different''

BANGKOK (Thailand) - Aisha Sheppard had never been to Thailand before.

This was her first time playing for the Jordan national team, so she has not yet gotten accustomed to traveling across the various countries in Asia where the women's national team plays. Not yet anyway.

"For me, I'm always trying to inspire the next generation because that’s what I had growing up."


But you would have thought that the fans at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok - the venue of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2023 Division B - have been lifelong fans of the star guard. Throughout the entire game in which Jordan beat Sri Lanka 82-41, the young Thai fans in the stands cheered her on for anything she did as she ended up with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

At the end of the game, those fans scrambled to the side railings and called for Sheppard's attention, asking for anything as simple as just a quick high-five. She gladly obliged and took her time, leaving the fans in awe and bragging amongst themselves after she had left.

Aside from the spectacular numbers Sheppard was leaving in the box scores, she was also leaving an impression here in Bangkok. This in hope that she leaves the city as an inspiration, even if just for one up-and-coming baller.

"Every time it just makes you feel special. It makes you feel that all the hard work that you put in is appreciated, to come to a place that I've never been before and to get the love that I’ve gotten," Sheppard said of the love she's been showered with in Thailand's capital.

"I’ve gotten some [direct messages] too and it’s just amazing the impact I’m having. I just love it here."

The concept of being an inspiration is not something new for Sheppard. She acknowledges how much of an impact she can have, having been a part of teams as influential as the Las Vegas Aces alongside members of the USA national team or as the face of a prestigious basketball program like the Virginia Tech Hokies.


"For me, I'm always trying to inspire the next generation because that’s what I had growing up," said Sheppard. "Everybody's journey is different and I want everybody to know that.  Whether your number is called right away or if it’s not, just continue to work, keep your head down and good things will happen."

That is advice coming from Sheppard's first-hand experience. She's already been through some ups and downs in her young career, but now that her "number was called" for this chance with the Jordan national team, good things have happened.

In particular, her recent outing against Kazakhstan was a very good thing both for herself and for Jordan.

By scoring 38 points in an important win, Aisha Sheppard recorded the most amount of points in a single Women's Asia Cup game, across both Divisions A and B, since 2007.


The scoring explosion came as no surprise to fans that have been following the Women's Asia Cup 2023 Division B as Sheppard was already averaging 21.0 points in her first two games. While not surprising, the shifty guard's performance was - and has been - entertaining. Sheppard had already built up a unique fan base over the first few games, so adding this game to her resume should draw even more attention to her game.

It's easy to see why the fans like her. Sheppard dazzled for Jordan from start to finish with an extended highlight reel of crossovers, difficult layups, and tough three-point shots on her way to just two points shy of 40.

After three games, Sheppard has wiped clear any doubts - if there were any - about her play and how much she would impact a Jordan team that were one win away from being promoted to Division A back in 2021. After all, Jordan needed to replace the production of Natasha Cloud who averaged 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game for that Jordan team in 2021.

Sheppard has been averaging 27.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game all the while shooting 57.5 percent from the floor and 59.1 percent from the three-point line. If there was any pressure on her coming into the competition, she certainly play like it and she confirmed as much heading into the competition.

"For me personally, I don’t feel like there’s any pressure ever," she said of the drawn comparisons. "I’m just me, she’s her."

"I'm just trying to do the best I can with what I have. She’s a champion, I’m a champion. We’re both just trying to bring what we can to the table and what we’re good at."

We've all gotten a taste of what Aisha brings to the table. From what we've seen so far, it looks promising for Jordan in terms of getting then towards their goal.

"I’m just super excited," said Sheppard even before their first game. "I really do believe that we can come here and achieve the goals that we have set in place and I think it’s really important that we have this energy. It’s good vibes going into the tournament and I think it will help us."

From the good vibes within the team to the good vibes from the fans in the stand, there's plenty of positive energy. And with that energy, Sheppard will be able to keep on playing with her best efforts, all the while inspiring anyone watching her glitzy play.