Read on to learn what it is like to play in Greece and whether WNBA players ever interact with their NBA counterparts. As you always do, dear reader, play nice in the comment box. Part Two, in which Erin discusses WNBA stereotypes, her faith, and what she would blog about, should be up tomorrow.
How is your rehab going; what are you doing each day as you recover?
Rehab is going well I guess, it's the first time I've been injured, so I'm not sure if I'm ahead or behind....but either way, it's a long, slow process getting the knee back healthy again. I have a ton of exercises I'm doing each day, trying to get the muscles strong again. They disappeared literally overnight!
Paul Shirley, a professional basketball player, recently came out with a book documenting his travels around the world to play basketball called "Can I Keep My Jersey?" I was wondering if you had happened to read the book and if so, what you thought of it. Is the life of a professional female basketball player similar?
I haven't read the book! But actually, it sounds like a great idea, I wish I would have thought of it before Paul did...I bet it's interesting. Playing overseas is quite the ride!
How do WNBA players decide what country they will play in during the offseason? I have an amusing mental picture of players trying to make their decision surrounded by tourbooks with titles like "South Korea on $30 a day" and potential contracts written in foreign languages. That's how it works,right? ha. Seriously, what is the process of decision-making?
I think most WNBA players decide where they will be playing by whoever offers the most money, that's where they are headed. For me, I was a bit different, not your conventional bball player. I felt, if you are going to get a free apartment, and job over in europe for seven months.....it's going to be a place I want to see, and enjoy the experience rather than just accept the paycheck. Now, I can understand, some of these girls are making quite the pretty penny in some places like Russia, Korea etc... but they also are paying the price. Basically giving their lives over for seven months, russia is so cold, I just could NOT do it.
Instead I chose to live right on the mediterranean, in one of the most traveled to destinations, island hopping during the day, practice by night. I thoroughly enjoyed my three seasons in greece. I can say a small part of me is actuallygreek now, I didn't hang with all the americans at the r&b hip hop clubs. I was going to the local hotspots that all the greeks enjoyed, ie...BAZOOKIA!! lol but seriously, I ate like a greek, (went to coffee for hours like a greek), listened to the music from there, and tried to enjoy the unique opportunity that it really was. Money gets spent, but experiences are for life.
Photo courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images.
You have ended up playing in Greece the last few WNBA off-seasons.What was life and basketball like there?
Well, I sort of just ran into the answer the question before, but I loved it. I would wake up, go to the beach, go for coffee...read, go to friends' houses for lunch. Lunch in Greece isn't like here, the whole family comes home from work, mom/wife usually has cooked some sort of yummy meat, salads, side dishes, bread, wine, FETA, and we sit down to a thanksgiving type meal (everyday) after which the family will all get into their pajamas, and crawl into bed for mid afternoon 'siesta'. Most of the shops will close between 3-6 p.m. while everyone naps. People love to sit and talk....coffee for 3,4,5 hours is not uncommon...relationships are valued on a higher level than here I think.
Just a slower paced life, Greek people like to enjoy themselves, they love family, they keep it simple, they love food and wine, and they don't worry too much. My teammates were like sisters to me, I learned the language enough to say whatever I want (usually in a round about way and VERY grammatically incorrect). Just a fun place to be, if that country had waves to surf on....i may just had found my next home.
One of the reasons I like the WNBA is its family feel. It's not such a large league that it seems impersonal. Are there particular fans that stand out as most memorable from your career in the WNBA?
I think that the fans in Sacramento and in San Antonio are really amazing. I like that as well about the WNBA...you look into the stands and you see so many children. The players also interact with the fans enough that there is definitely a relationship between the fans and the players.
What's your favorite free-time activity on the road during the WNBA season? I love to read, but also just take a walk through the different cities that we play in. It's fun to go exploring, find new fun restaurants, or go to a movie. But mostly you are just resting, since we are in and out so fast.
I doubt Tim Duncan comes to practices to help you all practice post-up moves, ha. But I was wondering if WNBA players ever interact with any NBA players, and if so, which player that you met is your favorite? And which WNBA players do you consider your best friends?
In San Antonio, we don't see the Spurs because we have different practice facilities. It's kept pretty separate. But in Sacramento, it was really pretty special, we shared the facilities with the Kings, and we would lift weights together, or be in the training room at the same time. They were really supportive of our team, cheering for us, going to games, putting up signs for us (the year we won the championship)....kind of like we were all one big team. I think that's a great environment for both sides, it's a shame it's not the same in San Antonio. I could never pick just a few close friends in the WNBA...I've been so fortunate to have been on four different teams with such unique, amazing, fun and funny girls. People are DEFINITELY missing out by not taking the opportunity to get involved and be apart of what these amazing women are doing....both on and off the court.