Adrianna Hahn has toughness ingrained in her DNA. The standout Villanova and Ursuline Academy alum had to overcome challenge after challenge during her prolific college and high school basketball career. But even through those hardships, Hahn’s confidence and drive to be great never wavered.
Hahn sustained her first major knee injury at just 12 years old. She tore her ACL and was convinced her basketball career had come to a screeching halt. But Hahn was determined to put in the hard work and build herself back up to the exceptional basketball player she knew she could be.
“It was tough. I had to start brand new and teach myself to walk again,” Hahn said. “But I also had to keep that strong work ethic and remember I was still the same Adrianna Hahn. And because I was behind, I had to work even harder and have more urgency to get back on the court and still be the most dominant person on the floor.”
Hahn went on to be a high school basketball star in Delaware, even while battling through two more major knee injuries that required additional surgery and extensive rehab. Colleges noticed that intense drive, paired with her insane 3-point shooting range and skill, and she became one of the state’s best prospects in recent history.
She ended up choosing to play basketball at Villanova and proceeded to create a major name for herself in the program.
After setting the Wildcats’ career 3-pointer record with 315 treys, it became apparent to Hahn that chronic knee injuries would prevent her from continuing her basketball career at a professional level. She felt like she could still play, but the insane pain after gamedays made it difficult for her to walk.
Hahn knew she couldn’t leave behind the game she loved so much. Basketball was entrenched in her identity and she wanted to give back to the community that she had been a part of for so many years.
She found her outlet in training and coaching. A perfect combination of teaching the game she knows so well and inspiring the next generation of players to be great.
Hahn knew how tough it was to be a girl playing a historically male-dominated sport. And she felt how important it was for young, female athletes to have role models and mentors to look up to.
“It is crucial for all athletes to give back, but it’s even more crucial for female athletes to give back,” Hahn said. “We need each other.”
Hahn notes that growing up as a girl whose life revolved around basketball came with a stigma. Because she didn’t try and fit into the traditional norm of being “feminine”, other students thought she was trying too hard to be a boy.
“People made fun of me for playing basketball, people made fun of me for wearing ‘men’s clothes’ like Jordans and high-top sneakers,” Hahn said. “I never had nail polish on, I wasn’t wearing any makeup or jewelry, and I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 20-years-old, so I got bullied.”
But Hahn’s confidence never faltered. She credits her belief in herself and drive to become great as the reasons she was able to block out those bitter people and become one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Delaware.
“I believed in myself and believed in my talents. If I allowed those hateful comments and negative opinions about me to affect me and my journey, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Hahn said. “It’s important for all athletes, especially female athletes, to believe in yourself, believe in your talents, have confidence, and at the same time spread that positivity to other people.”
Now Hahn is spreading that attitude and inspiring young girls who are going through some of the same struggles that she went through. She wants to break down those stereotypes she faced and advocate that no matter your gender, basketball should be celebrated as a sport for all.
“It shouldn’t be a gender thing. As a trainer, I deal with boys AND girls of all ages,” Hahn said. “The footwork that I’m able to do is the footwork they teach NBA players, that they teach D1 college guys, and I’m capable of doing that same footwork and having that same skill set that they have.”
“I speak to everyone the same way. Basketball is all love. We are not just female athletes, we’re athletes. And we will conquer all those obstacles that we face.”