Q+A: Cappie Pondexter & Sebastian Telfair
Two point guards dissect their head-to-head matchup in Vegas.
by Adena Andrews / @adena_andrews
The blogosphere was set ablaze as a modern day Battle of the Sexes was born from video (above) of New York Liberty point guard Cappie Pondexter playing against NBA veteran Sebastian Telfair. Thousands of viewers saw Pondexter make it rain buckets in a head-to-head matchup with a bigger, stronger, taller NBA player. But what they didn’t see were the events that led up to the explosive matchup of two legendary point guards. SLAM recently caught up with the two ballers to discuss what happened in Vegas.
SLAM: How did you end up playing together at Impact basketball facilities in Las Vegas?
Cappie Pondexter: Al Harrington and Chauncey Billups actually dragged me into the game. I was visiting Las Vegas with my brother and cousin and I got a call from Chauncey and he said, “I’m picking you up in the morning you’re going to workout with me.” I got to the gym the next day and after two hours of working out with Billups I was resting up and about to ice my body. Then Al Harrington comes over to me and says, “Get a jersey. You’re in”. I’m like “Really? But, I’m tired”. I played anyway because those guys are like my brothers and we are all just trying to get better.
Sebastian Telfair: That day I was in there working out with about 15-20 NBA players and we started playing pickup games. Cappie got called in at point guard and I was the point guard. We played five games and Cappie’s team won the first two and we won the last three. The game you saw on YouTube was the fourth game.
SLAM: What were your thoughts when you saw you were going to be matched up against each other?
CP: I just remembered him being a playground legend in New York. He was the head of his class coming out. It was just cool to go up against him.
ST: I came into the gym and saw Chauncey and about 15-20 other NBA players and that’s normal. But when I saw Cappie was going to be in the game, knowing how successful she is, probably top 15 in the WNBA, I had to respect that right away.
SLAM: When did you decide to turn up the heat in the game and go shot for shot?
CP: The jumper was just what I was feeling. I was kind of nursing an injury at the time too so I thought hitting jumpers was the safer thing to do. Also, I just wanted to work on my shooting. He gave me some good buckets too.
ST: It seems in game four she got a little more aggressive. On the first shot in the video, she comes down the left side and puts up a jumper. She even called “off” but it went in and didn’t even touch the net. I was right in her face and standing on top of her. That’s when I knew she was trying to win this. Then I hit her with the jumper then she hits me with the hesitation. At that point I thought, “She got game, so if I don’t take her serious she is going to try and show me up in here”
SLAM: Were you holding back in the game?
CP:I don’t know if he was taking it easy on me. He’s a cool guy and he was in there just trying to get better.
ST: After she hit a few shots I was definitely guarding her hard. I was saying in my head “She’s not going to score anymore” but she proved me wrong on that. There were other things that she did that weren’t on the tape. She was on the court holding her own. She would come off pick and rolls, make a pass and do obvious stuff the fans wouldn’t be able to understand. It’s no secret she is one of the best point guards to play the game.
SLAM: How did the crowd reaction fuel the tempo of the game?
CP: I got excited. Probably like four or five days ago I had just finished my season in the WNBA. So it was cool to get that reaction and play with the guys after that loss. It was definitely a confidence booster.
ST: That made it fun. You know how she plays; she is one of those up-tempo point guards with handle. It brought it back to street ball in the middle of a game with 20 NBA players in the gym.
SLAM: What was your reaction to the video going viral?
CP: I figured it was going to happen. I have also heard a lot of negative things about it. People say, “It’s fake, it’s not real”. People have to understand that I grew up doing this. I have been playing basketball since I was 10. This is what I love to do. I mean who wants to fake a video. We were both trying to get better and we were having fun doing what we love and it happened to be a crowd there. There’s nothing fake about that.
ST: I didn’t think it was going to go viral. I don’t have Twitter and Facebook like everyone else. I just follow it. As long as the people recognize I was out there fighting with another boss, that’s all that matters.