My 8 year old daughter had the opportunity to go into the New York Liberty locker room last night and interview Tina Charles, 2012 WNBA MVP, the number one overall pick in the 2010 draft, 2010 Rookie of the Year, and 2010 John R. Wooden award winner. Needless to say, she’s got some basketball skills. She’s also a hometown girl, hailing from our own borough of Queens.
Before the interview, my daughter and I sat down and came up with some questions. She originally came up with about 20, but I convinced her to trim it down to 11. The questions that were cut would have probably been the most interesting questions Ms. Charles has ever received and I’m kicking myself that I talked my daughter into omitting them. Those that know my daughter would not be shocked to hear that some of the questions left off the list were: What do you do when you need to go to the bathroom during a game? Where do you wipe boogers? –and– How often to you bump your head in the subway?
My daughter’s interview with Ms. Charles covers everything from junk food to what it takes to make it in the competitive world of the WNBA:
M: What did you want to grow up and be when you were a little girl?
TC: When I was a little girl growing up in New York City, I wanted to be a police officer. I wanted to get all of the bad guys.
M: Who were your sports heroes when you were growing up?
TC: When I was growing up, I was a big fan of the New York Knicks and I loved John Starks and Patrick Ewing… and Tim Duncan. Those were my favorites.
M: How many days a week do you practice?
TC: I practice every day. At times when we have a day off, I still go in and work on my game or I’ll get treatment on my body to recover. Almost every day I practice
M: How tall are you?
TC: I am 6’3” (Standing) I’m like huge.
M: Do you get mad or sad when the coach yells at you?
TC: When I played at UConn, the University of Connecticut, I played for Geno Auriemma. I used to go into the bathroom stall and cry when he would yell at me. But not anymore. I’m a big girl now.
M: How hard was it to be a pro basketball player?
TC: It was extremely hard. It took a lot of dedication and hard work. I had to do all of the little things. If my practice started at 3pm, I would come in early to work on my game. So, it was extremely hard. There’s only 12 teams in the WNBA. There’s only 11 spots on each team. So, everybody wants to be in my position. I have to keep working.
M: How important was your family in helping you be a great basketball player?
TC: My family was extremely important. In anything that you do in life. You want to have positive people around you. To encourage you and motivate you to stay in what you love to do or whatever dream you may have. My parents dedicated their life to help me be all I can be in basketball. They came to every practice. Went to every game. If I had a game in Philadelphia, another state, they drove me there. They really encouraged me and allowed me to aspire what I wanted to be.
M: What do you do for fun?
TC: I love to go fishing. I go to the movies. I hang out with my friends. I love live music. I love Broadway like The Lion King and Aladdin. I love Broadway.
M: What’s your favorite junk food?
TC: I’m not supposed to eat junk food since I’m an athlete, but I love Taco Bell. That’s a secret. You can’t tell anybody. Okay? Promise? (Pinky swearing with my daughter.)
M: What’s your favorite healthy snack?
TC: I love bananas. I can eat 3 bananas in a row.
M: What is your advice to girls that want to play basketball for a living?
TC: My advice is to be dedicated, have perseverance, be patient, work hard, and just to have fun. You have to fall in love with the game. You can’t do it for anybody else. You have to make sure you love what you do in order to go hard at it. And to keep God first. That’ll do.
I apologize for dropping that Ms. Charles likes Taco Bell. She pinky swore with my daughter, but I was not a party to that pinky-swear oath.
To read the story behind the interview, click here.
I previously wrote about another trip to a New York Liberty game and a sweepstakes. You can read that post by clicking here.