RICHMOND, Va. -- It takes a lot of hard work to be the best in your industry and to make your dreams come true.
Local basketball star Megan Walker is showing that it can happen with dedication. CBS6 followed Walker throughout much of her outstanding high school basketball career at Monacan High School in Chesterfield.
Since high school, Walker has played on some of the best teams with some of the best players in the sport.
Walker, who is now a WNBA forward for the Phoenix Mercury, has been putting in the work to be the best since about the time she first picked up a ball.
"Some people just don't have to work as hard as other people, but everything I got, I worked for," she said explaining her work ethic and basketball mentality.
Her focus and determination helped her make an impact on the court. While at Monocan, Walker led the Chiefs to three state championships and graduated as the nation's top recruit.
In college, she played for UCONN, the most successful women's basketball program in the country. It was there the standout athlete realized she still had a lot to learn.
"I didn't really understand how to work hard, to be honest, so learning how to compete at the highest level made me into the competitor that I am today," she said.
Some of her lessons came from basketball legends like Kobe Bryant.
"The Kobe opportunity, I feel like that was just a moment I will never forget, shaking his hand, just picking his brain on certain things. Even to this day, I have this tattoo right here," Walker said while pointing to her tattoo of Kobe's Mumba symbol on the back of her wrist.
During her junior year, Walker became the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Her team went undefeated in conference play.
But there was no March Madness in 2020 as COVID-19 canceled the big dance. That year, Walker surprised fans by announcing she was leaving the Huskies and entering the WNBA draft.
She was picked ninth overall by the New York Liberty, and her first year in the big league was as unpredictable as the pandemic.
Before ever playing a game, she tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the first part of the season while in quarantine. When the season was over, she moved to Hungary to play during her off time.
"It's the best league in Europe, so that was a huge opportunity for me to get my feet back under me and to get ready for the upcoming season," Walker said while explaining her decision to play in the Euroleague.
While readjusting overseas, Walker was traded to the Phoenix Mercury.
"I was anxious, I was nervous, I was worried. But once I got there I was just myself and everything clicked and it went smooth," Walker said while explaining her emotions after the trade. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. My dreams really came true," she added.
With her impressive lifetime goals achieved well before the age of 25, the pro athlete is helping others have a better shot at the game.
"I always wanted to do a camp," Walker said.
She held the first of what she says will be many summer camps inside her old high school gym with the help of her long-time skills and development coach David Anderson.
"She interacts with all of the kids. It inspires them to want to be like her," Anderson said while explaining the importance of Walker's basketball camp.
The camp sold out in its first year with little athletes eager to follow in Walker's footsteps. Walker, still determined as ever, continues to make an impact.
She just added a new goal.
"I want to inspire. That's like my whole purpose in life. It's to inspire the youth," Walker said.