From time-to-time, when I see this or that WNBA person giving an interview, I’m struck by the thought that I might find them to be good company. Now I’m not saying that everyone would think so, but for some reason they seem to have something that appeals to my socializing gene. So, in that vein, I thought it might be interesting to see who I might invite to a dinner party (I haven’t really thought this through, so the final results
are going to be interesting to me, too).
What are the criteria?
You had to start with a hard question, didn’t you? First and foremost, I’d like my guests to be able to talk about something other than basketball. Basketball talk is fine, but I’d like my fantasy visit with these athletes to be as people, not only as basketball players. A certain joie de vivre would be nice, but it’s kind of hard to define…smiling is a definite plus. Other than that, I don’t know.
Now, keep in mind that some of these selections will be based on interviews I’ve seen, and so in these cases I’ll have an idea if I might be able to enjoy casual time with these folks in a non-basketball venue. Others, I kind of have to go with their demeanor with their teammates, and how their basic personality emerges from behind the focus required to play in the WNBA. So, here we go:
First on the list is Taj McWilliams-Franklin. I’ve seen her on interviews, and in many ways she’s like one of my dearest friends. I think Taj and I could get on well.
Though I’ve not seen her much off-court, I think Erin Buescher might have a similar bent of mind as Taj and my friend. Also, she seems…nice. Now, I know that’s a bad word to a lot of people, but what can I say? I like nice.
Next…Tammy Sutton-Brown. For as long as she’s been in the league, I’ve always thought she would be someone I’d like to talk with.
OK, there’s got to be an Aussie. So many. I’m so tempted to go with Timmsy, but she’s seemed to have gotten more serious. I’m also tempted to suggest Lauren Jackson, but LJ is famously known for being a shy one. You know…why limit myself to one Aussie? Why not this: LJ and Tully Bevilaqua? Tully seems like she knows how to have a bonzer time, and I think with one of her mates there, LJ might relax a bit.
Taurasi. With that explosion of personality that is Diana Taurasi, how could I not invite Dee?
Jasmina Perazic-Gipe. Who? Yeah, I know. She played for Maryland Women’s Basketball back when I was photographing Maryland Women’s Basketball. We also spent some time on-court playing one-on-one and other #-on-# variations. I’d have Jaz on my list because she’s a UM alumn, and a friend from way back, so of course I’d like to visit. (BTW, she played for the Liberty in the first year of the league.)
OK…including me, that’s eight. For a dinner party, a little large, but doable. Any more and I’ll be having to call a caterer. Even so, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other possibilities: Sheryl Swoopes seems very interesting once her game face is off. Nikki McCray has had some interesting adventures it might be nice to find out about first-hand. Ticha Penicheiro is one smart cookie…I could do much worse than to chat with her over some canapes. Tina Thompson…I think she might just fall into that Taj/Erin camp; maybe I could squeeze her in.
Heh. I sort of notice a trend for veterans (DT not withstanding). Maybe it’s because I’m older, too. Maybe it’s because they’ve had enough time to have a life. Even if you play basketball year-round, your travels are going to give you new experiences and perspectives; but you need time to have those experiences, and that’s part of what makes different people interesting and good dinner companions.
Like I said, this is simply my first stab at a fantasy list. It’s not about my favorite players to watch, or who I think are the best players, but those players I think would make good company for an evening, or perhaps more than one evening. It wouldn’t be dull, that’s for sure.