A Black Widow’s beginnings: Jeanette LeeMinh-Tam Le
Dec 01, 2013
Jeanette “Black Widow” Lee is, among other things, a proud mother of six and one of the world’s most recognizable billiards players. Jeanette’s most recent career highlight is becoming a 2012 WPBA Hall of Fame inductee. She lives with her children and husband, George Breedlove, who is a top ranked men’s pro billiards player, in Indianapolis. She acquired the nickname “Black Widow” from her exclusively black attire and killer instincts during tournaments.
Before her battles began at the tables, Jeanette was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13. Up to 2005, she had undergone nine surgeries to make her back stronger. She is a national spokesperson for The Scoliosis Association, Inc. and defied the odds with the birth of her and George’s first natural child: Savannah. Jeanette is a heroine with great strength, discipline and courage.
What is the best advice you were ever given?
The best advice in life was from Lyn St James. First you need to KNOW the rules, then you need to PLAY by the rules, then you have to WIN by the Rules… and only THEN, can you CHANGE the rules!!!! IN pool, When you’re not feeling it, FAKE it! It’s the best chance you have to stay out of your own way!
As a mother of six children with a demanding career, how do you balance the two?
It’s very hard for anyone to balance motherhood and a career. I think we just need to be more organized and try our best not to waste time on trivial things. When we are with our children, really try to make that quality time and create as many memorable moments as we can! I think, were we to video ourselves throughout a day, we’d find that we could carve out more time than we think….
During the two years you were in college you pursued a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education, but now you are 23 years into a career as a professional pool player. What were your reasons for choosing that major?
I’ve always loved children and I still do. I wanted a future in helping nurture their minds and hopefully always make a difference in a positive way… but I fell in love with pool, too. I figured I could always go back to college if I needed to, but the time was right to go for pool. I’m really glad I did. At the same time, I wish I had more business skills that I might have learned in college. I know I’ve grown this sport, but I believe, with more knowledge, I could have done a lot more.
How do women become successful in sports and what role does the media play in portraying the success?
If I knew the answer to how to make women become successful in sports, I’d be a millionaire. I only see that they have all worked hard and not given up no matter what obstacles show up on their path! I know that great skill helps, good branding or image, and a good platform to showcase themselves, whether it’s through competitive play or media. as for the media in my career, I originally hated the “Black Widow” nickname, but they loved it and played it up. I’d have to say, I eventually came around but I’m thankful for the name now.
How has your heritage shaped your identity?
I absolutely love being Korean American! I love the respect that we are taught to give others. I love the hard working ethic I learned from my parents and family. I love their focus on education and we were taught that a higher education gives you a better quality life. And don’t even get me started on how good the food is! 🙂
Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lee.