Getting to Know Alana Beard
Q + A with SLAMonline’s newest columnist.
In her new section on SLAMonline entitled “The Mind of an Athlete,” Alana Beard focuses on the inner-workings of a professional athlete who few people truly get to see. She’s already touched on the difficulties and struggles of working through an injury and not being able to play for an entire season. Additionally, Alana gave us her perspective on the Lakers and the brilliance of Kobe Bryant. While her official blog is being designed (it’s almost done!), we felt this would be a great opportunity to learn a little bit more about the WNBA superstar. – Ben York
by Alana Beard / @Alanabeard20
SLAM: What do you value most of being a professional basketball player?
Alana Beard: The one thing I value most is being able to touch other people’s lives. It warms my heart when a fan comes up to me and tells me that I inspire them in some way. That lets me know that I’m fulfilling my purpose.
SLAM: In your opinion, who is the best player in the WNBA right now?
AB: Best players in the league? Diana Taurasi and Lauren Jackson without a doubt.
SLAM: If you could give upcoming basketball players one piece of advice, what would it be?
AB: If you aspire to be great, then it’s not going to happen on its own. Becoming great is like a living plant; in order for the plant to grow and live, you have to discipline yourself and make sure that happens. If you want to be great you have to put in the work; and let me be clear, it’s not easy! If you don’t love it, don’t do it…it’s a waste of your time and others around you.
SLAM: Your career after basketball would be…
AB: I’ll for sure be my own boss. I’ve always told myself that I will never work for anyone. The things I do I’ll do because I love them. My first step toward that goal is growing and expanding my foundation…The Alana Beard Foundation. (Alana does so much more in the community you haven’t heard of due to how humble she is. Example – she has five AAU teams she oversees.–Ben)
SLAM: The WNBA has come a long way since its inception. What do you think it has to do to truly get respect in the sports world?
AB: I personally think the WNBA has done a tremendous job of creating a great product. We still have so much more we can do and want to do, just as any business would. I now think it’s up to the “people” to give it a try. I know SO many people who have come to a game and then get hooked. All it takes is one game in person to understand the excitement, hard work and purity of the women’s game. It’s a fun game and you will love it if you just give it a shot!
SLAM: Obviously, you’ll miss the entire 2010 season due to ankle surgery. I know how motivated you are to come back with a vengeance. Any specific goals for your return in 2011?
AB: My goal for 2011 is to be fully recovered from my ankle injury. Then, what happens after that is what it is.
SLAM: You’re known for your all-around game and have made the WNBA All-Defensive Team numerous times. In your opinion, who is the hardest player to guard in the league?
AB: Deanna Nolan; she is fast as lighting. Her explosiveness off of pin-down screens is so hard to guard. She’ll have about three to four steps on you. Her elevation is ridiculous. She’s always my hardest guard and I love it!
SLAM: Funniest teammate or player:
AB: Matee Ajavon without doubt! I know every team have their “funny” player, but I’m willing to bet that Matee has everyone beat by far!
SLAM: Favorite movie:
AB: The Devil Wears Prada
SLAM: Favorite music singer/group:
AB: Adele, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, James Morrison, Kid Kudi and Kanye West. (She was already high in my book, but Alana just took it a step further by mentioning Kings of Leon and Adele.–Ben)
SLAM: Most embarrassing album you own:
AB: Diggy Simmons mix tape, only because he’s, like, 15…if that. (No Miley Cyrus? Justin Bieber?–Ben)
SLAM: Best advice you’ve ever received:
AB: Sherri Coale, head coach of the women’s Oklahoma Sooners basketball team, told me when I was about 19, to “hold on loosely.”
SLAM: Worst habit:
AB: Predetermining the outcome.
SLAM: Biggest lesson in life you’ve learned:
AB: I’ve learned I can create any life plan I want, but in the end, it’s not my plan. I’ve learned to enjoy the process of life.
SLAM: People would be surprised to know…
AB: I have two phobias in life…one of rats and the other of speaking publicly.
SLAM: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
AB: I wouldn’t change anything. I am who I was created to be. Seriously!
Be sure to leave Alana a comment or question below and she’ll respond.