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Insider Access: One of Sports’ Favorite Photographers, Cassy Athena

This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.

By: Alexis Robinson, @_alexismarie24

Good news! I found another lady killing it in the sports game! I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Cassy Athena a couple times now and knew she’d be perfect to interview.

Cassy is a photographer and videographer who specializes in sports. She has worked with some of the biggest athletes in the world and has also partnered with amazing events.

Almost all of you have seen her work and might not have even known it; Cassy is the person behind the “confused Nick Young” meme that has been floating all over the internet, television, and more.

So I first asked Cassy who she is and how she got her start.

“I’m an athlete and an artist who grew up playing volleyball and basketball. I continued my sports career at Glendale College where I met a professor who did videography for Laker games. He was my first example of sports and art collaboration. While I was taking his classes, I would film advertisements for the men’s basketball teams for my class projects and even continued filming for them after enrolling at Cal State Northridge where I majored in animation. I started working at a sporting goods store to save up money for my first camera and fell in love with photography. This combined with my love of sports fueled the challenge of being a sports photographer.”

Cassy went on to share about her first major project in the sports photo world at the world famous “Drew League.”

“I discovered the Drew League in the summer of 2011 and thought it would be a great place to take photos and network. I was the Drew League’s first official photographer.”

Being Drew League’s first photographer was quite a feat, but Cassy knew she had to figure out a way to make this a career.

“I wasn’t making money at first, so I continued my career in visual FX on TV shows and movies at a local studio, but couldn’t shake off my passion for sports photography. I would drive to basketball games or open runs after work so I could continue to shoot. I was able to capture some top players due to the NBA lockout like Paul George, Nick Young, Reggie Jackson, James Harden, and more LA natives. By 2013, I fully invested myself as a photographer and never looked back. West coast rapper The Game helped get me into the music industry and I was able to take pictures at concerts, clubs, red carpet events, and more.”

Cassy was and continues to be an entrepreneur.

“To this day I have remained freelance and neutral; building my own brand and working with everyone from Under Armour, Jordan Brand, Adidas, Red Bull, and more.”

She isn’t done, though, Cassy has a lot of goals set for her future including personal goals set after a serious health issue.

“The only thing I can say is I want to go wherever God takes me in life. I survived a brain tumor in 2009 and have continued to live my life to the fullest, following wherever God takes me!”

Cassy is currently working on her web series called, “Thru The Lens” where she gives an exclusive day in the life of NBA players, but she wanted to pass on this advice to young girls in the industry.

“The advice I would give is to not be afraid to take a chance. I have faced so many obstacles being a female in this industry but I have never let it stop me. You have to be confident in your work and be in competition with yourself, not the people around you. Build relationships, practice your skill every day, and don’t let anyone hand you anything!”

Keep up with Cassy on social media: Instagram and Twitter @cassyathena and you can visit her website www.cassyathena.com

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