Carson in 2019
|No. 17 – Phoenix Mercury|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|Born||July 28, 1986|
Paterson, New Jersey
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight||168 lb (76 kg)|
|High school||Eastside (Paterson, New Jersey)|
|WNBA draft||2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the New York Liberty|
|2008–2015||New York Liberty|
|2009–2010||CJM Bourges Basket|
|2010–2011||CMB Cargo UNI Gyor|
|2011–2012||CJM Bourges Basket|
|2015–2016||Samsun Canik Belediyesi|
|2016–2018||Los Angeles Sparks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at WNBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Carson was born in Paterson, New Jersey and is one of three children. Carson started playing organized sports at age 11 and attended Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts, while competing athletically at Eastside High School in Paterson, where she was an all-state volleyball player and state champion in the 400 meters.
Carson was a 2004 graduate of Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts and Eastside High School. She participated in the 2004 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she was a starter and scored seven points. Carson was also a McDonald's All-American where she was also a starter and scored 5 points. Upon graduation, Carson accepted a basketball scholarship at Rutgers University.
Carson attended and played college basketball at Rutgers University for four seasons. During her college career, Carson played shooting guard and small forward for coach Vivian Stringer as the team entered the NCAA Tournament in each of her first three seasons. Carson was a key-member on the team when they won the Big East title in her first two seasons. In her freshman season, Carson was named a Big East Academic All-Star and won Big East Defensive Player of the Year in her sophomore season. Rutgers had finished second place during Carson's junior season and advanced all the way to the NCAA Championship Game after a 54–53 win over top-seeded Duke. They would end up losing to Tennessee in the final championship game. In her junior season, Carson won Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second time, was named to the All-Big East First Team, the Big East All-Tournament Team, and to the Kodak All-American Regional Team. During her final season at Rutgers, Carson was the Big East Defensive Player of The Year for a third time making her only the second player in history to achieve such a feat. Following her senior season, Carson entered the 2008 WNBA draft.
Carson was drafted 7th overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. She helped the Liberty win the first round series of the 2008 playoffs, but the Liberty fell short in the eastern conference finals against Detroit Shock who won the championship that year. In the 2011 season, Carson was voted a WNBA All-Star for the first time in her career despite being a reserve on the Liberty's roster, she had averaged 11.3 points per game. In the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, Carson scored 13 points for the eastern conference team.
In 2012, Carson re-signed with the Liberty once her rookie contract expired. On June 9, 2013, during a regular season game against the Atlanta Dream, Carson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Prior to the injury she was averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game through the first three games. After recovering from the injury, Carson had a smaller role on the team as her minutes were reduced and was downgraded back to a reserve on the Liberty's roster for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
On March 31, 2016, Carson signed with the Los Angeles Sparks in free agency to fill a gap in their roster left by an injured Riquna Williams who would miss the entire 2016 season. During the 2016 season, Carson became the starting shooting guard for the Sparks after playing small forward during previous seasons with the Liberty. Carson along with Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver helped the Sparks to a 26-8 record and the number 2 seed in the league. Carson would eventually win her first WNBA Championship with the Sparks as they defeated the Minnesota Lynx 3-2 in the finals.
In February 2017, Carson re-signed with the Sparks in free agency. During the 2017 season, Carson started during the first 10 games of the season but would then be permanently moved to the bench rotation, being replaced in the starting lineup by newly acquired combo-guard Odyssey Sims following an elbow injury. The Sparks once again finished with a 26-8 record and the number 2 seed in the league. The Sparks would once again advance all the way through to the Finals for the second season in a row, setting up a rematch with the Lynx. However, the Sparks would lose to the Lynx in 5 games, failing to win back-to-back championships.
In 2018, Carson would have a slight increased role on team from last season. The Sparks however were unable to be a title contender in the league, as they finished 19-15 with the number 6 seed. In the first round elimination game, they defeated the Minnesota Lynx 75-68 to advance. In the second round elimination game, the Sparks lost 96-64 to the Washington Mystics.
In 2019, Carson signed with the Phoenix Mercury. In the 2019 season, Carson missed 11 games while battling a calf injury. She started 13 of the 23 games played for the Mercury. The Mercury finished as the number 8 seed with a 15-19 record. The Mercury were eliminated in the first round elimination game by the Chicago Sky by a final score 105-76.
In the 2008-09 off-season, Carson played in Italy for Venezia. In the 2009-10 off-season, Carson played in France for CJM Bourges Basket. In the 2010-11 off-season, Carson played in Hungary for CM Cargo UNI Gyor. In the 2011-12 off-season, Carson returned to France to play once again for CJM Bourges Basket. In the 2012-13 off-season, Carson played the first portion of the off-season in Spain for Rivas Ecopolis and spent the second portion of the off-season playing in Turkey for Istanbul Universitesi. In the 2015-16 off-season, Carson played in Turkey once again for Samsun Canik Belediyesi. As of November 2016, Carson had signed with Yakin Dogu for the 2016-17 off-season and won a championship with the team.
Carson was a member of the USA Women's U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The event was held in August 2004, when the USA team defeated Puerto Rico to win the championship. Carson helped the team win the gold medal, scoring 8.7 points per game.
Carson continued with the team as it became the U19 team, and competed in the 2005 U19 World Championships in Tunis, Tunisia. The USA team won all eight games, winning the gold medal. Carson scored 5.6 points per game.
Carson went on to compete with USA for the FIBA Americas Under-20 Championship for Women where they won gold in 2006. In 2007, Moscow, Russia she competed with USA once again for the FIBA Under-21 World Championship For Women where she was once again a starter and won a gold medal.
In 2012, Carson partnered with Health Equity Initiative, a non-profit organization to launch an educational campaign to raise awareness of health disparities, as well as encourage community action and partnerships for health equity.
Other than professional basketball, Carson is also a hip-hop artist and producer under the name Pr3pE (pronounced "Preppy"). On November 12, 2013, she independently released her first album called Broken Diary. Carson, had also produced 70% of the album. She had released music videos for two singles off the album called "Hater" and "Love Letter". Carson had also noted that her musical influences are Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Jay-Z, MC Lyte, Missy Elliott and J. Cole. In January 2016, Carson hinted on social media that she's working on a second album. On March 25, 2016, Carson released a mixtape called No Subz which she self-produced and wrote.
Carson has a younger brother named Shaquille Thomas, who played basketball for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Carson graduated with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Music from Rutgers University in 2008. Carson also plays the piano, saxophone, electric bass guitar, and drums. In 2018, Carson enrolled in the ARTium Recordings internship program. She now works for Universal/Capitol Music Group as Manager of Priority Records.
WNBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game||RPG||Rebounds per game|
|APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game||BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
|TO||Turnovers per game||FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|Bold||Career high||League leader|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Carson won a WNBA championship|
|Career||12 years, 3 teams||346||195||20.4||.408||.326||.797||2.3||1.3||0.8||0.3||1.1||7.4|
|Career||9 years, 3 teams||42||17||19.3||.399||.237||.667||2.1||0.9||0.6||0.3||1.0||6.3|
- "21 Questions with Essence Carson". wnba.com. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Ogle, Mike. "For Carson and Liberty, Excitement Is Mutual", The New York Times, April 22, 2008. Accessed August 1, 2008.
- "Essence Carson BK". www.njsportsheroes.com.
- White, Nicola M. "Paterson senior shines in many pursuits", The Record (Bergen County), April 29, 2004. Accessed August 1, 2008.
- "WNBA.com: Prospect: Essence Carson". wnbatix.com. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- "Essence Carson Named 2011 WNBA All-Star Reserve". wnba.com. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "Essence Carson re-signs with Liberty". Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- "Liberty F Essence Carson Out For Season With ACL Injury". CBS New York. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "Liberty Loses It's Essence, Carson Signs With LA Sparks • Double G Sports". doublegsports.com.
- "Essence Carson Re-signs with Los Angeles Sparks - Los Angeles Sparks".
- Mercury Signs Free Agent Wing Essence Carson
- "L'UMANA REYER HA PRESENTATO OGGI ESSENCE CARSON « UMANA REYER - BASKET VENEZIA MESTRE". UMANA REYER - BASKET VENEZIA MESTRE.
- "CMB Cargo UNI Gyor basketball, News, Roster, Rumors, Stats, Awards, Transactions, Details - eurobasket".
- "More Than Meets The Eye With Carson - EuroLeague Women (2012) - FIBA Europe". www.fibaeurope.com.
- "HEI: Health Equity Initiative" (PDF).
- "Liberty Players Begin International Competition - New York Liberty".
- "WNBA Players Playing Overseas - WNBA.com - Official Site of the WNBA".
- "Fifth Women's Junior World Championship Qualifying Team -- 2004". USA Basketball. February 20, 2014. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Sixth FIBA Women's U19 World Championship -- 2005". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- "Essence Carson and Health Equity Initiative Launch Sports for Health Equity". August 31, 2012.
- "Essence Carson Broken Diary Album News". The Boombox.
- "Essence Carson Dunks on Haters - EBONY". www.ebony.com.
- Carson, Essence T. "Nice little plug for my free mixtape though- No Subz due out February. Album in the fall".
- "No Subz, by PR3PE". PR3PE.
- "24 Shaq Thomas". www.gobearcats.com. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- The LA Sparks' Essence Carson Opens Up About Her Blossoming Music Career & Record Company Internship