PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Duke alumna Mistie Bass is writing a blog for the Phoenix Mercury this summer during the 2014 WNBA season. Here is the introduction from the first year player with the Mercury, who graduated from Duke in 2006.
My name is Mistie Bass and I just recently "brought my talents" (in my LeBron James voice) to the Phoenix Mercury. Okay, okay…it wasn't quite a blockbuster move like LeBron deciding to go to Miami, but the objective is exactly the same: heading to a team with the mentality of winning championships – nothing less, nothing more.
Most of you may know me from previous seasons on the opposing team causing all sorts of ruckus on the court. I know some of you have loved to hate me! I have done my fair share of instigating a technical foul or two. (Diana may just stay under the limit this year; she told me, "With you on the team that gets rid of at least three.”)
I can't help but laugh because I remember the time I was on the Sky playing against Phoenix for our annual “pink” game. I was in all pink, right down to the hair ties that held up my Princess Leia buns. I mean, all I needed was some pink lipstick and some matching pompoms to be the Breast Cancer Awareness mascot. Here’s the setting: Diana already has one technical foul for the game. I get on the court and she is already coming at me with her infamous trash talk right along with an inadvertent elbow to the gut.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am a lover and not a fighter but on this occasion I wasn't about to get punked! So I did what any lady would do, and get even when she least expected it. Ball gets tapped out of bounds. Sky ball. I go to receive the ball, and who is there to defend the inbounds play? Yep! Your beloved Diana Taurasi. I don't exactly know when I came up with the idea to pump fake the ball directly at her face, but I did and she dang near hit the floor. I mean, I would have done the same had it been me, but I wasn't prepared for the wrath that came after the incident!
I had some serious coconuts pulling that on one of the league’s best and most respected players. I remember her running up to me, pushing, and people trying to pull us apart like it was some NBA drama to be shown on the next episode of SportsCenter. Next thing I knew, some technical fouls were being issued, Diana gets booted from the game (second technical in one game = ejection), and we win the game.
I'd like to think my little episode helped get us that win! (BIG SMILE) The moral of the story is I am here on this team ready to make other teams' lives a problem.
New Kid on the block
I'm not going to lie and tell you that I was super confident flying into Phoenix knowing I'd be the newbie in town. I still get that nervous, butterfly-in-your-stomach-thing when I come to a new team. Meeting new people, learning new character traits, wondering how your personality will mesh with others, and how comfortable you'll feel right away can be difficult. I told my mom before I left that I was a bit anxious about being the new kid at school. I swear, it doesn't matter how old you get, new places always take you out of your comfort zone a little bit.
I met the team at the airport after they arrived back from the inaugural WNBA Preseason Tournament. The first person I met? None other than your own Brittney Griner. This was my first encounter with her, and to be honest, I think she thought I was a fan. I looked at her, gave the "head nod" and she did the same. Then she had that "hold up” look a couple of seconds later like, "Wait, I think that’s my teammate." I guess this is a normal reaction for her given the craziness that happens in the airports with all of the people that recognize her. I think it is amazing the amount of people that gravitate towards her, and are inspired by who she is and what she does on the court. It’s great for women's basketball and the future of its development.
Everyone else was really welcoming and my anxiety just lifted. It was so good to see Shay Murphy again. I played with her in Chicago and I just love her fun and free-spirited personality. She always has this light and airy energy that makes it so easy to be around her. Diana and Penny were also very happy to see me and made sure I was taken care of and asked if I needed anything.
I knew from that point forward, fitting in wasn't going to be a problem at all.
Click here for the remainder of Mistie Bass' blog