A ‘Fresh Start’ for Alana Beard
Q&A with the new member of the Los Angeles Sparks.
“When they say I can’t…I will.” - Alana Beard
Alana Beard first introduced us to her trademark phrase while penning a blog for SLAMonline during, arguably, the most difficult time in her life. After ankle tendon repair surgery in 2010, many doubted whether or not Beard would ever return to the player she once was, much less play professionally again.
But Beard never gave up. She rededicated herself to the game. To her mind. To her mentality.
Now? It’s the best she’s felt in years. After six seasons with the Washington Mystics, the four-time WNBA All-Star recently signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Sparks.
They said she couldn’t. She did.
Alana Beard (AB): Getting back on the court and being 100 percent healthy is what I have worked towards for two consecutive years. With that being said, signing with the Sparks means a great deal to me. Having an organization believe in me the way the Sparks do after being out so long is something I am extremely grateful for.
BY: Do you consider this a fresh start?
AB: It is a fresh start. This is a new beginning for my family and I and the start of another chapter in my life and career.
BY: Going from the Eastern Conference to a talented roster in the Western Conference, do you anticipate your role changing at all?
AB: Whatever my role is, I will accept and do it to the best of my ability.
BY: Does it matter what your role will be? Or, are you at the point where you’re just happy to be playing again?
AB: To be completely honest, Ben, I get a second chance at doing what I truly love. I will embrace whatever role I have with the Sparks with open arms and a smile from ear to ear as I am doing it.
BY: You’ll be heading to Los Angeles with a player you’ve previously been a mentor to over the years in Washington – Marissa Coleman. Does it make this next step in your career that much more exciting?
AB: I am more excited for Marissa because I know her potential. A change of scenery, in my opinion, is the best thing for her. It offers her a new challenge to become the player she is destined to be in this league. I don’t know what it will be, but I do feel she has much more to offer than what she has shown.
BY: The goal for you and the Sparks has to be a WNBA Championship, right?
AB: When you have an extremely skilled player like Candace Parker, the experience and talent of Delisha Milton-Jones and Ebony Hoffman, the youth and talent of Jantel Lavender, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, a championship is always the ultimate goal; wanting to just make the playoffs isn’t good enough.
BY: Speaking of Candace Parker, how do you see your game meshing with hers?
AB: The game will become simple. Pick and rolls will become easier. Defense will become tighter. I can see my game fitting in very well.
BY: In one word, sum up this next chapter of your life as a member of the Sparks.
AB: Limitless. That’s why I chose to wear No. 0. If you Google, ‘the meaning of the No. 0,’ the way it is described really resonates with me.