There was a time when two-time Olympic gold medalist boxer Claressa Shields considered Serena Williams to be her hero. After winning her first gold at the 2012 London Olympics at the age of 17, Shields was getting pressured to go to college and turn professional. She ultimately decided to pursue a second gold after simply seeing a photo of Serena with her two medals. Four years later, Claressa learned why you should never meet your idols.
In an interview on the Scoop B Radio with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, Shields reveals how two interactions with Williams left such a bad taste in her mouth that she blocked the tennis legend on Instagram. The first time Claressa ran into Serena, it was prior to the 2016 Olympics. Following a boxing session, Shields was hanging with Shakur Stevenson, their coach Kay Karoma, and Mikaela Mayer when they noticed Williams with three other girls. "I’m not the type of person to just jump on somebody so I was just like 'Hey Serena' and there was nobody around," she said. "I talk very loud so when I said it, she didn’t say nothing. She just acted like she couldn’t hear me and just kept walking straight. After that, Shakur Stevenson was just like, 'Did she just ignore you?' And then after she heard Shakur say that, she just looked over and said 'hey' and kept going so that was strike number one for Serena Williams and I let that go even though I was very upset."
In her second interaction with Williams, Shields was already over Serena when Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski promised to help her get a photo of them together during the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympics. "So during the walk, I walk in with Coach K and he tells me, 'I’m going to get you that picture with Serena Williams,' and I told him, 'No I don’t want no picture, as a matter fact, you can ask her if you want, but I’m not going to ask her because I see how she is now,'" she recalls. "So, Coach K went and tapped her and her and the girls that were with her, they ignored him she acted like she didn’t feel him touch her. She finally looked back and saw it was him and walked away so fast and I just was like, 'Who the hell does she think she is?'"
Shields says she ended up leaving a message for Williams on Instagram before deleting it, and blocking her. Now, Claressa admits she no longer wants to be like Serena.