Participating in the WNBA draft was one of the greatest weekends of my life! I was afforded the opportunity to be around 11 of America's best college seniors and learn several things about our new employer.
We arrived in Bristol, Conn., on Friday afternoon and began with media training. We then headed to meetings with WNBA personnel. The highlight of the night was meeting with Pam Wheeler (director of operations for the WNBAPA) and learning all the details of the players' association and the CBA. As an athlete, I never thought about the real-life part of being a professional. For example: Health insurance, life insurance, workers' compensation and retirement plans. Knowing that we get all of these benefits puts the exclamation point on being a professional athlete.
By the look of things Saturday was supposed to be a LONG day. We kicked off the day with presenters on financial planning, security and domestic violence. We then got a one-hour break for lunch. The REAL fun started after lunch. Waiting for us was none other than Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine's editor-at-large. I have been inspired by a few people in my life but none quite like Mrs. Taylor. She left an impression on my mind and spirit. Her words of encouragement were just what I needed going into this new phase in my life.
After Mrs. Taylor, we got a chance to hear from two league referees who helped us understand the different rules in the league as opposed to college. Following the refs, there was a coach's huddle. The coach's huddle included my new coaches, Bill Laimbeer, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Barbara Farris. We got to see a coach's perspective on what is expected of rookies coming into training camp. I actually got a kick out Coach Laimbeer. I realized immediately that he is a man who bites his tongue for no one but demands the respect of all.
Following the coaches, we had a players panel that included Ruth Riley, Candice Wiggins, Teresa Edwards and Sheryl Swoopes. The information we received from these women was priceless. Having women who paved the way for us share their advice was invaluable.
After that, we ended the night with some fun and got to go bowling with our families and friends. As far as bowling is concerned, let's just say I won't be trading in my basketball for a bowling ball anytime soon!
Sunday morning brought on major fun! We headed over to ESPN's main campus to host a clinic for about 100 kids. I love children, so having a chance to share the world's greatest game with them was a lot of fun. We followed the clinic with a Q&A session followed by an autograph session.
Sunday night brought on even more FUN ... hair and makeup. We met with wardrobe, makeup and hair stylists from the Thomas Faison Agency. This is the same agency behind the styles of LeBron James, Serena Williams and Amar'e Stoudemire. Needless to say, I was in heaven.
Monday started off rather exciting. We got to experience an executive luncheon with the staff of ESPN and espnW. The most exciting part of the luncheon for me was being able to view the trailer for the Nine for IX series. In my mind, anything Robin Roberts touches is gold, but this series of short films chronicling the adversity women in sports have endured is sure to inspire a generation.
After the luncheon, we headed down for more hair and makeup. It was now time to prepare for the moment we had all been waiting for, however, the mood changed in the green room when we heard about the tragic bombings in Boston. We got time to spend with our friends and family before heading over to the studio, and after hearing that one of the victims was an 8-year-old boy, I was happy to have my little brother in Connecticut with me. With the city of Boston heavy on my heart, I found it hard to concentrate on arguably the most exciting day of my life. With my emotions all over the place, I was able to calm down and focus on the task at hand. I didn't get nervous until the countdown began in the studio. Hearing Laurel Richie call my name was a dream come true. I had imagined that moment in my head a million times, but none of them were quite like the real thing.
Growing up a Comets fan, I still have vivid memories of Spoon's half-court shot. Having the opportunity to play for the Liberty is so exciting! I am very anxious to get to New York and get started with training camp. I get to play for one of basketball's most notorious big men and alongside of some of the world's greatest female athletes.
As my time in Aggieland winds down, I anxiously await what the Big Apple has in store for me! I have never been to New York, so I am sure I will be in for a treat. I look forward to seeing you all this summer as the league begins its 17th year!
God bless, and go Libs!