The W Exclusives: Cappie Pondexter
Getting personal with the Mercury’s star guard.
by Ben York
Covering the Mercury all season long, I was fortunate and lucky enough to get to know the players beyond the superficial. I can honestly say that two-time WNBA champ Cappie Pondexter is everything you think she is and much more – kind, welcoming, generous, funny and obviously one hell of a basketball player.
Cappie Pondexter absolutely killed the competition this year. Her best all-around season to date, Cappie once again was a vital factor all throughout the Mercury’s road to the 2009 WNBA Championship averaging 19 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds per contest.
I recently caught up with Cappie to get an update on how her offseason is going thus far and find out how things have been since her eye surgery a couple weeks back. We talked about basketball, music, movies and even her favorite superhero…
SLAM: First, how are you feeling? Everything progressing as planned from your recent surgery?
Cappie Pondexter: Well the surgery was successful so it’s been good. I had a torn retina and they lasered it together so I’ve not been able to do anything physically yet and it’s been nice to have that time off – my body needed it. Just relaxing and having some time off has been nice and I’ve appreciated that. I’ve just been hanging out in Chicago. I went back to Rutgers recently and hung out with coach and friends. It’s been great to have a few days off.
SLAM: You’re heading to Russia in the offseason – when do you head out and what do you want to work on over there in terms of your game?
CP: I just found out that I head there on the 25th. I can’t play basketball for another month but I can start running and conditioning in a few days. My goal is just to continue to be a complete player. I’ll be playing more of 2 guard than 1 this year unlike last year, so I really want to work on my decision making in the open court. I’ll be focusing on splitting the defenders, creating, and being better in transition. Also to get my free-throw and three-point percentage up. I’m hoping to bring my trainer from Chicago out there too to help with my conditioning.
SLAM: Other than the championship, what was your biggest accomplishment this past season?
CP: You know what? I think it was the three Player of the Week awards in a row. They were definitely unexpected but I really appreciated those. I don’t think that has been done before so that was kinda cool. But you know our whole team really represented well. Diana with the regular season and Finals MVPs, DB [DeWanna Bonner] with the All-Rookie Team and 6th Woman of the Year, Tangela Smith with the leader in three-point percentage. It was just an incredible year.
SLAM: Have you noticed an increase in the talent of the collective league this year?
CP: Yeah I’ve definitely seen an increase. I think for a lot of the players this year and last year their popularity started out early which has meant an increase in followers. You know, when I was coming out of Rutgers no one really knew about me or the team but as college and high school women’s basketball gets more popular as time goes on the competition is just going to get better and better.
SLAM: Speaking of popularity, does it seem like the WNBA is finally hitting the mainstream?
CP: Well we are competing against a lot – the NBA is great and the NFL is amazing so it’s just going to take some time. The generation before me with Lisa [Leslie] paved the way for us so we are going to do the same for the future generations. We just need to be more available to fans and reach out.
SLAM: Alright, here are some rapid fire questions for you… What are you listening to musically right now?
CP: I got my computer right here so I’ll tell you what I just added. The Roots, John Mayer and Kings of Leon.
SLAM: Music you listen to when you need to get motivated?
CP: Man, whenever I need to get motivated I put on Smokie Norful, and I’m good.
SLAM: Favorite movie?
CP: Finding Forrester.
SLAM: Car you wish you had, but don’t?
CP: Maserati or a Bentley Coupe.
SLAM: Funniest Teammate?
CP: [Laughs] I’d have to say Diana.
SLAM: If you had to choose a profession to be other than a basketball player, what would it be?
CP: I’d have to say a make-up artist. I don’t really do make-up now but I think that would be fun.
SLAM: If you could be any superhero, who would you be?
CP: Hmm, that’s a good question. I’d have to say Catwoman.
SLAM: Because of her powers?
CP: Nah, I just like her suit!
SLAM: Biggest difference between the WNBA and playing overseas?
CP: “I think the game is more expanded overseas where you have 4s and 5s shooting threes. It’s definitely more physical in the WNBA, but it’s more open overseas no doubt.