ACHS graduate a part of Cavs' title run
When the Denver Broncos captured the Super Bowl 50 title in January, Tulane fans also had something to celebrate as former Green Wave football players Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon would be receiving rings alongside quarterback Peyton Manning.
Fast forward a few months and another member of the Tulane Athletics family is getting their time to shine in former women's basketball player Shelly Cayette, who had her ties to glory with the Cleveland Cavaliers organization and their first ever NBA title. Cayette is an Ascension Catholic graduate.
Since she works so closely with the team on an executive level as the Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Cayette was there when the Cavs clinched the title in Game 7 over the highly-favored Golden State Warriors.
"It was amazing to see, to run on the court and be a part of that," Cayette said. "There were more tears and emotions than I ever thought I would see from a basketball game. You understood the hard work and the dedication that was put in to be there. To beat the odds, down 3-1, which has only been done three other times in history, was an amazing experience to be a part of."
Cayette, who played at Tulane from 2001-04, made three trips to the “Big Dance” in her time in New Orleans, including a second-round berth in 2002. She has since stayed with the sport, playing professionally overseas and working with the New Orleans Pelicans before now serving as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships with the Cavaliers.
"I have a team of about 12 people, and they manage all of our corporate partnership relationships," Cayette explained. "We have about 120 corporate partners that have sponsorship deals with us like radio, TV, area promotions, community relations promotions and lots of different marketing and managing elements. My team manages those relationships and executes those contracts."
However, it's not all fun and games for Cayette and her team. After the final game was won and the team had returned to Ohio, there was work to be done planning the victory celebration for the city that had waited so long for a championship, and who better to plan a parade than a Louisiana native?
"We flew back that night, and there was a parade two days later that we had to prepare for," Cayette said. "That was a quick turnaround. I would say that it was like Mardi Gras multiplied by ten – 1.3 million people came out for that parade, and they weren't waiting for any beads or throws. They were just there to see the team and to celebrate and support them."
The parade, while much larger than any Super Krewe to parade the streets of New Orleans during the carnival season, allowed Cayette to reflect on her time at Tulane and the years she spent on the court donning the Olive and Blue.
"I attribute a lot of my success to my time at Tulane, both from a professional and athletic standpoint," Cayette said. "That work ethic and drive has led to a lot of what we do today: keep focused, keep calm and keep balanced through time management. I've been very lucky, and I'm in a great place."
Though her career ended early due to a knee injury in her final year with the Green Wave, Cayette remembers her years in New Orleans fondly and still remains in touch with her fellow teammates as well as head coach Lisa Stockton. She's found a new life in Cleveland, but for Shelly Cayette, Louisiana and Tulane, will always be her home.