Swin Cash’s 2011 All-Star Journal
Photos, stories and access behind the scenes from San Antonio.
by Swin Cash / @swincash
When I reflect back on the 2011 WNBA All-Star game, I’m flooded with memories and emotions ranging from joy to humility along with a stronger passion for preserving our game.
I say “our game” because especially during weekends like this, it is important to remember it is just that – a game! In order to grow anything you’re part of, you must first take ownership of it. The league is now 15-years-old and with the infusion of talented youth such as Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Liz Cambage the WNBA’s future is currently shining bright.
San Antonio has always held a special place in my heart. It was only nine years earlier that I hoisted the NCAA Championship trophy after going a perfect 39-0 at UConn while picking up my first MVP award. So, fast-forward to this past weekend and even though the West didn’t win the game, I was blessed to hoist another MVP trophy in good ol’ San Antonio.
Talk about things coming full circle!
One of the great things about this particular WNBA All-Star game was we had players, past and present, in attendance that represented old school, new school and the future. I had an opportunity to share a few moments with some of the game’s pioneers and role models like Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper and Teresa “T-Spoon” Weatherspoon. We were all in the back taking photos before the game when Tamika Catchings and I got a chance to speak briefly with T-Spoon. Anyone who knows T-Spoon knows how passionate she is about the game and this league. She pulled us in close and told us we have to do whatever it takes to keep this league going. There are a lot of young girls growing up right now watching at home on TV, working on their game, whose dream is to be here someday.
We have to do our part to make sure this league thrives and DOES NOT fold.
For me, the message really hit home. The reality is, without the sacrifice of those before us (some of the same women who were in San Antonio this past weekend), we wouldn’t be where we are today. So, to the journalists, sports reporters and other media outlets that like to trash the WNBA, or blame us for the NBA lockout or financial problems, it is time for you all to get on board or get out of our way. Just like as kids, you all once picked up a notebook and pen and dreamed of writing about or interviewing your favorite athlete, my young niece will pick up a basketball and dream to play in the WNBA someday. I know the league isn’t where it needs to be yet; we can do (and will do) better. I’m also not oblivious to the challenges that lie ahead, but I’d rather be part of the solution than the problem.
The other amazing thing about All-Star weekend was seeing the excitement of our young rookies and newcomers to the game. As Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage would say, “They all were so lovely.” Maya was so cute with her video recorder and camera attached at the hip all weekend, Liz busting out in dance and laughter for no reason at all (other than she was enjoying the moment and loving life), and Danielle Adams having this shy personality just taking it all in.
It made me smile and appreciate the weekend for what it is, while at the same time, thinking back on my first experience in 2003. I was the same way so I could respect and appreciate everything they were going through.
Now, it wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t have a Foolishness Alert on standby for y’all…Lord, where to begin? Maybe with the person who did the Seattle Storm’s regular season game schedule! So many side-eyes on this one, people! I thought when you win the championship, the next year you get a decent schedule. Welp…guess I was wrong.
We were on the road for three games lasting almost nine days prior to the All-Star game. On July 20, we left our hotel in Chicago at 6:10 a.m. and caught a flight back to Seattle. We then got to the arena we went through our normal walk-through and scout of our next opponent, the San Antonio Silver Stars. As a result, all day Wednesday I’m unpacking, washing clothes, mani/pedi/eyebrows, picking up dry cleaning and grabbing food because there’s obviously nothing in my refrigerator since we’ve been on the road! Thursday comes and, of course, it’s game day so we have shootaround from 10-11, then I run past Nordstrom to pick up my stuff (y’all know it’s the anniversary sale and I couldn’t pass that up, lol) and get home just in time for the hairdresser to show up at 1 p.m.
Y’all didn’t really think I was going to go to the All-Star game with my hair looking a mess? “No, ma’am,” as my mom would say, that can’t happen! The hairdresser is done at 3 leaving me with just enough time to take my nap and get into game mode.
Oh, it gets better!
We have a big win at home (thanks, Storm Crazies) then I have an hour before my car service comes so I can run home, finish packing, and head to the airport. Yup, we took a red-eye to San Antonio through Houston. I was excited because I had an exit row…until I reclined! I just start shaking my head and said, “Baby Jesus, come by here.” The seat reclined maybe an inch! If you don’t believe me, ask Becky Hammon…
Finally, we get to San Antonio after sleeping only two hours on the plane and I get my schedule which says I need to be downstairs in one hour and 15 minutes with all my stuff for All-Star practice followed by a reception afterwards. Needless to say, I got back to my room around 9:30 p.m. that night just in time for a date my face had with my pillow!
On another foolish note, if Dirk Nowitzki can have long warm-up pants, I’m going to need someone to find a pair long enough for my poor baby Liz “Lizzy” Cambage! This is Ultra Foolishness. Check out the photo to the right; that poor baby has to sag during warm-ups and it just isn’t right, lol. I have a 36-inch inseam and mine even look like Steve Urkel so I ain’t the one to gossip. Just sayin’…help a sista out!
Can we look like Stefan instead of Steve, please?!
Last, but not least, comes the Ultimate Foolishness. Remember how I said we had a three-game road trip right before the All-Star game? Well, after enjoying Saturday with all the lovely ladies of the WNBA, Sue and I flew to Phoenix to meet our team to embark on another three-game road trip! Whoever did our schedule, as Donald Trump would say, “YOU’RE FIRED!” lol
On a serious note, it’s always a blessing to be voted by the fans to the All-Star game. I want to take a moment to thank all my fans around the world and also those who voted for me as one of the Top 15 players of all-time. I sincerely appreciate the support. I love what I do, and the opportunity I have, to touch different people’s lives with the platform basketball creates.
I want to close with a quote from my biggest fan and supporter, my mom. She said, “We don’t always get what we want or deserve but we always get what GOD wants us to have.”
Love that lady!