Anna Wilson: Building Her Own Legacy
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Everyone knows that growing up with older siblings can be a blessing and a curse.
They tease you, play pranks on you, make you cry and take your things. Yet at the same time, they inspire you, give you someone to look up to and help guarantee that someone will always have your back.
Anna Wilson (Collegiate School/Richmond, Va.) has been fortunate to experience all of the above.
As the only girl and the youngest in her family, Anna grew up dealing with all the mundane doings of many big brother-little sister relationships. She was adored while also getting the short end of the stick many times. In other words, she was a girl with two older brothers.
Harry (30) and Russell Wilson (25) are 14 and eight-and-a-half years older than her, respectively.
Harry is a successful salesman who received a scholarship and played baseball and football at the University of Richmond. He is now married, has a young daughter and resides in Kentucky.
Anna beams when she speaks about Harry who became a father figure for her after their father passed away almost four years ago.
“He’s a great singer, a great athlete and a very intelligent man. He’s the all-around guy; more talented than all of us.”
These are big praises for the eldest Wilson. Praises that become even more incredible when one realizes whose Anna’s other brother is.
Russell is a professional athlete who plays in the National Football League. As the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, the middle Wilson is best known for having recently led the Hawks to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history back in February.
“Russell is very well-driven,” Anna said of Russell, who she referred to as her best friend. “He has a tremendous work ethic. They both do, but Russell is just very stubborn in a good way. He won’t let anyone tell him no about anything. He’s going to strive for his best at everything.”
It could be said that the shoes Anna has to fill are impossibly large. Or that she will always live in the shadow of her brothers.
But the reality is they are not and she will not.
Anna Wilson has got her own bright future ahead of her. An excellent basketball player, Anna’s very own Wilson legacy is starting to take shape. She is no longer just Harry or Russell Wilson’s sister.
The tables are turning. They are now Anna Wilson’s brothers.
A Bright Future Ahead
After participating in the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials this past spring, this year she was selected as one of the 37 invitees for the 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team Trials. There have been three roster reductions so far, but Anna is still in contention and vying for one of 12 roster spots on the USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team.
“Anna, she’s as tough as it gets,” brother Russell said yesterday when he came to watch his sister in action during trials. “She’s very intelligent; she has probably more drive than anybody you’ll ever meet. Just watching her and getting to see her play is really exciting for me. I don’t get to see her all the time so to see her against some of the best talent and see how well she does is always exciting.”
An old-school point guard whose first instinct always will be to pass the ball, Anna Wilson has verbally committed to play for coach Tara VanDerveer at Stanford University in 2016-2017.
“Stanford really stuck out to me with their academics and just their pursuit of excellence. Coach VanDerveer is an amazing coach. What she’s done in her past and what I know that she can do in her future is something that can’t be compared to anyone else. She’s a heck of a person, a motivator, and in my experience of talking to her recently and the coaching staff, they have pushed me beyond limits that I’ve ever been pushed before,” she said of the mentor who directed the historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team to an incredible 52-0 mark and then led the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team to gold.
Anna Wilson joked that the only reason she picked Stanford is because she’s just trying to go to more Seahawks games.
In all seriousness, however, the lesser miles between Seattle, Washington, and Palo Alto, California -- instead of their current distance of Seattle to Virginia -- do give her cause for excitement because this means that she will be near her brother who she loves and loves to compete against.
“One time, Russell and I, we were playing one-on-one basketball in Seattle after one of his games,” Wilson shared. “We were in the gym and everyone was watching, and I was beating him and on the last shot, I got an ‘and-one’ and I screamed it out loud. He was just like ‘Anna, be quiet’.”
Though it is Anna who dominates the basketball court, Russell’s shining moment on the gridiron reached the pinnacle of the NFL about four months ago, when he was crowned Super Bowl champion.
Anna, of course, was there to witness it all.
“It was an amazing experience, one that no one could possibly forget,” she said. “He’s one heck of a person and in my case, I expected it. If not his first year, I expected it his second year, third year, I expect it every single year he plays. He’s such a wonderful person, and I couldn’t be any more proud of him.”
Just like Anna knows that Russell will perform at his best every single time, Russell knows the same will be true for Anna.
In fact, he even goes as far as to compare her poise and skills as a point guard, to the ones a quarterback playing in the pocket needs to have.
Russell Wilson may mesmerize the nation with his quick feet and smart throws, but he’s only got eyes for one superstar in the family.
“I remember looking out the window of the house and seeing her when she was two, three years old, doing reverse layups with my dad,” Wilson said.
“It just brings back so many amazing memories. She’s the soul of the earth; she’s the light of the world. Just watching her play is amazing. She’s got so much talent and she’s going to Stanford; it’s going to be really cool to see her play.”
Anna’s family, which also includes mom Tammy, is the support that she takes with her every day, everywhere she goes. The last few years have been difficult, as the lost of their father, the leader of the Wilsons, was devastating.
“Our family is so close with our dad passing away almost four years ago. He’s meant so much to us,” Russell said.
Anna agrees and fondly remembers how strong, intelligent and wonderful her father was. He was not only a multi-sport athlete at Dartmouth College, but he went on to become a lawyer.
“I know if my dad was here, he would say, ‘don’t be afraid to excel; be your best, always be your best’.”
After her father passed, the role her brothers played in her life grew enormously. They have become her protectors, confidants and the best cheerleaders she could possibly ask for.
After only minutes of speaking with her, it is clear that they are who she aspires to be as a human being.
“Their best qualities are their humility, their mentality and their work ethic. I think those are all stellar kind of characteristics that someone can have, and I don’t think you can’t get any better than what kind of characteristics my family has.”
As an athlete, Anna doesn’t worry about living behind such powerful shadows as the ones that her father and brothers have casted.
She is her own person, a terrific athlete and the newest Wilson to come into the mix.
This year at trials, Anna has excelled and shown her abilities to handle and distribute the ball on the floor. She has felt more confident, and it has shown.
“Sometimes I feel like the sessions are shorter (than last year) because I’m more comfortable, but I’m still pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone. I’m challenging myself, and I’m very blessed to be here. We’re all here to compete, and I’m very thankful for this opportunity.”
At Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia, where Anna will be a junior next season, the names Harry and Russell Wilson are plastered everywhere displaying all of the athletic achievements and the history her brothers have accomplished before her.
It cannot be easy to be the one to follow those acts.
Unless you are Anna. For her, that’s not an issue. She says she is ready to make her own history and create her own legacy.
It is tough to find a reason to doubt her. She is a Wilson after all.