Natalie Chou was introduced to the game of basketball by her mother, who played professionally in China beginning at the young age of 13. When she moved to the U.S., she faced an overwhelming amount of discrimination from parents who did not trust her coaching. It was through her daughter she was finally able to prove her tremendous coaching skills. Chou worked consistently to improve the skills her mother taught her, and that is what got them noticed.
What Chou didn't see on the court was anyone that looked like her. She was lonely looking for a much needed a role model, someone who had paved the way for her in the game she loved. When Chou made the USA U18 Team, it was a huge accomplishment, but again it was a lonely world for her. She was told that she was the only Asian American to ever make the cut. In that moment she understood that she had a role to play. She was going to be the voice for Asian Americans in the sport. She was the trailblazer.
Chou's hard work and dedication to the game earned her a spot on the UCLA Women's Basketball Team. As a 6-foot-1 Asian basketball player she saw the stares people gave her. She heard the words of other players saying she would be easy to beat because she was Asian. However, the stares remained consistent throughout her life. Chou tried to remain close to her team and wear her basketball gear as much as possible. However, the stares never stopped. When COVID hit, she remembers traveling home from school when the lockdown began, and the stares she received while walking on the plane were worse than ever.
On and off the court Chou represents her family and community first. As someone with a sports platform, Chou began speaking out against racist language and the violence that had grown throughout the pandemic.
Chou graduated from UCLA with her master’s degree and is currently playing professionally in Germany.