L.C. Bird point guard Taja Cole is signed to the University of Louisville and will be a Cardinal next season. The point guard liked...

L.C. Bird point guard Taja Cole is signed to the University of Louisville and will be a Cardinal next season. The point guard liked the upbeat tempo of their offense and her play style fits like a glove in that type of system. Like all athletes, there’s much more to Cole than hoops; she’s a budding entrepreneur to boot. The senior is already chasing a second dream and getting prepared for a life after basketball.

“I just wanted to be different,” Cole explained. “I wear a lot of Jordan and Nike, but I wanted to do something different.”

That’s right. Since the age of 13, Cole has had her own clothing line and a fervent interest in fashion design. It makes perfect sense that the basketball player has an interest in designing athletic wear.

Cole’s website, www.teamcole5.com features several products including t-shirts, hockey jerseys, socks, sports bras, crew necks, hoodies and shorts. All clothing adorned with her logo, and her signature that she’s practiced since she was in the third grade, the age when most students start to venture into writing cursive.

“Team Cole is for people who are humble and work hard,” Cole said of her brand.  “You don’t have to play sports, or play basketball, or even like me,” she continued. “As long as you work hard, you’re a part of Team Cole.”

Once Cole arrives at Louisville, the plan is to major in Sports Administration and put her education towards furthering what has been an interest and a part-time job for five years already. Just don’t make the mistake of saying she wants to be an equipment manager.

“No!” Cole stated emphatically. “I want to design the sweet stuff that teams wear – uniforms, arm sleeves, socks and shorts.”

Cole’s fashion sense begins like many athletes – with Nike and Jordan. The sneaker craze has taken off, with people entering lotteries at local shoe stores and sometimes waiting hours in line to be among the first to buy and wear a new pair of shoes. More than ever, shoes have become a fashion statement among athletes. The guard also stated that she looks to what famous people wear for inspiration, and designs concepts based off of that.

The Skyhawk’s passion and confidence for basketball oozes into the rest of her life with other endeavors – that much is obvious and she’ll have a large following and audience to pitch her clothing and concepts to in Kentucky, a basketball crazed state.

Though basketball runs in her family, (uncle Tarik Wallace played at the University of Arkansas and “sister” Quenswayla Story is at North Carolina A&T). Taja’s first sports love was toting the pigskin as a running back on her flag football team and the Tennessee Volunteers. Though L.C. Bird has plenty of football headlines, Cole has been on four winning powder puff teams, all at running back.

Aside from playing running back whenever possible and designing clothes, Cole also draws and makes cartoons. In the increasingly busy life of a high schooler, one may wonder where all the time comes from. After all, Cole has been working on her jump shot as well.

If you scour the articles and scouting reports, the only negative thing you might find about Cole is an inconsistent jump shot. That jump shot has consistently improved since her freshman season and was on display in a victory against Cosby and a loss to Highland Springs, who appear to be the best team in the 5A South by leaps and bounds. Cole does what is needed.

“She refuses to lose,” said Bird assistant coach and Hall of Famer Kelly McMillin. “That’s my favorite thing about her.”

The senior’s refusal to lose will come in handy as the Skyhawks look to dispatch Prince George in Conference 12 and will very likely face a re-match with Highland Springs if they are to contend for a state title.