Plenette Pierson Ready for Tulsa
A big year on and off the court.
by Stephen Litel / @stephenlitel
For most who follow the WNBA, Plenette Pierson is the personification of the Detroit Shock “Bad Girls.” Her intensity on the court was a major factor in their championship runs and opponents do not enjoy playing against her. For those who do not follow the League closely, they only see the obvious…the woman who was a part of the brawl in Detroit against the Los Angeles Sparks. Quite simply and obviously, there is more to Pierson than what you see on the court.
“I have been perceived that way since I got to Detroit,” said Pierson. “I have adapted that ‘Bad Girl’ persona. I don’t think that it was a conscious choice. I just think I adapted to the people around me and the style of play being demanded of me. I believe that everyone thinks that I’m an angry and aggressive person because of the whole Bad Girl persona and how well I fit in with that team. Honestly with the new style of play that will be implemented in Tulsa, people will begin to see that it was me adapting.”
Yet, those who know Pierson off the court know better. Pierson is a sweetheart, someone with whom it is quite enjoyable to hold a conversation with and the difference is striking. Now, as the Detroit Shock relocate to Tulsa, the two personas blended momentarily, as Pierson was not sure if she would want to join her team in their new city.
“Someone told me that they had read that we were moving via the internet,” said Pierson. “I didn’t believe it until someone from the Shock organization called to inform me of the move. I was initially in shock, but then I had already made my mind up that I didn’t want to be in Tulsa. I had made Detroit my home and I loved it there. There is no place that I wanted to be more.”
The emotion of the Shock relocation comes on the heels of Pierson missing most of the 2009 season with a shoulder injury. She did not get to say goodbye properly to the city she grew to love or the fans who supported her each and every game. Five years is a good stretch of time in anyone’s life, let alone the short amount of time for those who become professional athletes.
“My time in Detroit was great from the beginning,” said Pierson “There was so much love from the community and the coaching staff really brought me to the top of my game. I feel like Detroit was where I really started playing basketball. That’s where my career began and I will never forget those that supported me during and after my time in Detroit. I know that some fans are upset and think that the name should stay in Detroit, but I look at it as a way to pay homage to Detroit. The Detroit Shock will live on forever.”
It is more than understandable to have conflicting emotions regarding something that will change your life on such a big scale as this, but sometimes we forget professional athletes are also human beings. They have the same emotions as the rest of us, obviously, and, as is the case with anyone, making a judgment upon someone should be based upon their actions. After the shock of the relocation simmered down, Pierson began to see that the move could be great positive for her.
“I needed the time to wrap my head around the whole situation and once I could think clearly, I could see the opportunities that I had before me,” said Pierson. “I haven’t been to Tulsa, but I have a couple of friends who are from there or went to school there. They have told me some great things about it. I’m really excited about moving to Tulsa. Thinking about the opportunities that I can have to come into my own–you know, get out of that “Bad Girl category. I think it’s also great for me to be closer to my family.”
Of course, all of these realizations came while Pierson was working to get back to full health. After her shoulder injury ended her WNBA season last summer, she is now playing overseas in Israel and is doing well.
“My health is great,” said Pierson. “I think I’m at 200 percent health today and feeling like a new woman. Definitely no worries heading into the WNBA season. I think coming to Israel was a great choice for me as a player coming off injury. I’m having a great season, my team is in the playoffs and just advanced to the second round. This is more than I expected for myself being that I was just out of basketball for six months. In my own opinion, I’m playing better than I was before I had the surgery. It’s amazing I’ve recovered mentally and physically so quickly.”
Now preparing her mind for the WNBA season, Pierson has a new head coach, Nolan Richardson. The team is going through a facelift, not only in relocating to a new city, but also on the court. Pierson knows her role will change and is prepared to do whatever her new coach asks of her.
“I was afraid at first to play for him knowing that he created the 40 Minutes of Hell, but I’m an opportunist,” said Pierson. “I have to look at it in a different way and know that this could really work for me. I’m expecting to go out everyday and give a 110 percent regardless of what’s going on. My role will change drastically since Smith and Nolan won’t be in Tulsa, but I think I’m ready for the challenge. I’ve watched those guys lead the team for some years and have learned a lot, so I’ll try to apply what they taught me.”
Pierson began a blog recently at plenettepierson23.blogspot.com where she describes herself as a “kind hearted and passionate person” who loves to inspire children to achieve their dreams. By reading the blog and watching Pierson on the court, fans can see the dichotomy that is her life and, hopefully, perceptions will slowly begin to change.
“I definitely want to change how I’m perceived because it’s almost like I’m two different people. I have an alter ego,” said Pierson. “I started blogging because the fans never get to know me besides at the games and what they see on TV. What you see on TV is me playing my heart out for my team and I’m a totally different person off the court. I just wanted to give the fans insight to my life on and off the court and even while I’m overseas.”
Quite simply, Plenette Pierson expects the 2010 WNBA season to be big for her, not only on the court, but also by letting the fanbase get to know who she truly is off the court. The people of Tulsa are going to love her.