Dallas Wings Media Day 2019

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This past Monday on May 20, 2019 the Dallas Wings held Media Day at the College Park Center in Arlington. Media Day means the season is near and teams are fine tuning things before the regular season, as well as determining who will make their final roster by the approaching deadline. You could see the goofiness all around and fun vibes that come with Media Day. I got a chance to talk to some new and familiar faces on the team. The season begins this week so I sat down and gave them some fun rapid fire questions about the league, food, and more.

 

Kayla Thornton

Q: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

A: No, a hot dog is a hot dog. A hot dog ain’t a hot dog if it ain’t got no neckbone juice!

Q: Are you a Game of Thrones fan?

A: No

Q: Favorite TV show?

A: The Last O.G.

Q: Do you have a favorite teammate?

A: Allisha. I have a couple though, well, I love all, but yeah Tayler and Sky

Q: Favorite food?

A: Seafood, especially crawfish

Q: Least Favorite food?

A: Anything that has cilantro in it. I can’t eat it, it tastes like soap.

Q: Jordan or Polo?

A: Jordan

Q: Who would you consider the “Mom” of the team?

A: It would be two, Tayler and Sky

Q: Favorite WNBA player of all-time?

A: I would say Lisa Leslie

Q: Who is the GOAT of the WNBA?

A: Lisa Leslie

Q: How do you think it would be for the league if they expanded or got a G-League?

A: That would be great, especially for the girls that get cut. They can go down and develop more, but I don’t see that anytime soon. I hope they put more teams in more states but I know that comes with money and stuff like that, so that’s a whole other topic.

Q: Who’s your favorite NBA team?

A: Well, let me just explain this….okay so I love LeBron, but I don’t care for the Lakers. I love Kawhi, but I’ve kinda been with the Milwaukee because of Giannis. I don’t have a favorite team.

Q: How was your experience Overseas?

A: It was a blessing, I’ve been over there for three years now so I told myself I don’t want to leave here without a championship. You know, put a little stamp on South Korea before I leave. It was good, the team was great, the people I was around were absolutely adorable. Felt loved and just felt at home so it was real good.

Q: What are your personal goals for the season?

A: Just to build, of course the ultimate goal is to win a championship, but just with new coaches coming in. To get the feel of what he(Agler) does, just taking it moment by moment and by each game, not thinking ahead too far and just trying to get better when we start back today.

Q: What is the biggest difference between Coach Agler and Coach Fred?

A: They’re two different coaches that have two different styles. They’re both great. They both bring different things.

Q: What does Agler bring to the team different from any coach you’ve had before?

A: I think he brings a lot more discipline. I think he brings you out of your comfort zone, he pushes you to get out of your little bubble and do things you haven’t done.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being in the WNBA?

A: I think definitely meeting new people and the relationships that we build. Learning from everybody, from people who have been in the league a long time and the coaches. But definitely just the girls that we have on the team. You can’t ask for more than that, the relationships we build and the different cultures.

Q: What’s the ceiling for this team this season?

A: I mean, like I told you, this team has a lot of pieces to make things happen. It’s just about putting it to action and just trusting the process, trusting what Agler has to say, what the other coaches have to say and just doing it. With Skylar, we’re waiting on her to come back and with Liz we just have to keep moving forward. I definitely think our signature is going to be defense. I think that’s what is really going to help us this year is our defense.

 

Allisha Gray

Q: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

A: No, I don’t. A hot dog is a hot dog.

Q: Are you a Game of Thrones fan?

A: No

Q: Favorite TV show?

A: Power, Insecure and I’m super late, but I just started watching Scandal on Netflix. How to Get Away With Murder and stuff like that. Manifest is a good show too.

Q: Do you have a favorite teammate?

A: KT. That’s the homie.

Q: Favorite food?

A: Pizza. Cheese Pizza. I’m plain I don’t like all that stuff on my pizza.

Q: Favorite movie out right now?

A: Endgame

Q: Jordan or Polo?

A: Jordan

Q: Who would you consider the “Mom” of the team?

A: Skylar of Tayler

Q: What’s your favorite moment with Skylar?

A: Just being on the court with Sky is always fun. We have a lil handshake we do, it’s just fun. She keeps me on a straight path, encourages me and I try to do the same. If I’m on the court and I know somebody can’t check her I’m like c’mon Sky… I remember one game she had like four points at halftime and I was talking trash like “Sky c’mon now…” and she was like “alright watch this” and she finished with about 30 points. I love talking trash, it’s fun trash though. I love messing with Sky, it’s fun. She’s definitely competitive, that’s why I love being in her group because I know she’s going to push me to the limit. It’s no slacking in her group. You’re going to be the best you can be working out with her.

Q: Favorite WNBA player of all-time?

A: I would say Lisa Leslie

Q: Who is the GOAT of the WNBA? People say it’s Taurasi, is it too up for debate to say?

A: No it’s not up for debate, you see what she’s done. She’s a bucket.

Q: Favorite NBA player? Team?

A: Paul George, Westbrook, and Harden. I’m a Thunder fan, I been since KD was here.

Q: How was your experience Overseas? How’s it different from here?

A: It was different. I was culturally shocked, like, it was totally different for me. The lifestyle, I mean, it was very interesting to me and seeing how they live and that it’s definitely a lot different than America. Many people don’t know how good you have stuff until you experience it, as far as basketball-wise. Over there, you have to be tough. You don’t really get any foul calls. When I first entered the WNBA, I was like man I don’t get no foul calls, but over there you get NOTHING. You jog down court and get tackled and *toot*, it goes the other way.

Q: What are your personal goals for the season?

A: Just taking it a day at a time. I just want to focus on each game, I don’t want to jump too ahead of myself. The biggest thing for me is to just compete this year, help my team in any way possible and win games.

Q: What is the biggest difference between Coach Agler and Coach Fred?

A: Coach Agler definitely has a defensive mindset, he’s all about the grit. He’s really an organized person, but he’s really focused on defense.

Q: Did you like playing point guard Overseas? Noticed you called yourself “PG Lish”.

A: PG Lish! You already know! Anything with “Lish” is just a lil fun thing I do, my teammates always be laughing at me about it, because I play like it’s my dream job to be a point guard. It’s all fun and games.

Q: Favorite pair of Nike’s?

A: It’s between Vapor Max and Air Max. I’m tryna get my Vapor Max game up.

Q: Who do you want to win the NBA Finals?

A: Giannis and the Bucks.

Q: Favorite thing about Coach Agler?

A: Just the confidence he has in you as a player. He knows the potential of your game so he really pushes you, because he knows what he could get out of you. I like the way he pushes us and the confidence he has.

 

Imani McGee-Stafford

Q: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

A: It is if you’re poor and can’t afford hot dog buns, so for me it was a sandwich

Q: Are you a Game of Thrones fan?

A: No

Q: Favorite food?

A: I like food in general honestly, I’m a big fan of pasta. I love pasta. I love seafood. I pretty much eat salmon all day everyday, like live on salmon. I’m a big desert person, I have to eat something sweet after every meal.

Q: Least Favorite food?

A: I don’t like tomatoes. A lot of stuff I won’t eat that actual thing, but I like the taste of it. Tomatoes are one of those. I cook with onions, but I hate onions, I need the flavor. I don’t eat red meat anymore depressingly. I stopped eating red meat when I went to China, now my body won’t digest it. I get sick immediately, one bite in and my stomach is turning. Sometimes if I see a short rib on the menu, I’ll just be like we gonna have to take the L. I’ll just fight through it because it’s just so good going down and I’m done for the day.

Q: Who would you say is the “Mom” of the team?

A: Yeah, I don’t know. Ask me in a week.

Q: Who is your favorite WNBA player of all-time? (Can’t say Mom)

A: Why you cheating? I honestly haven’t even seen my mom play a full game. It’s so hard to find film of her because that generation, like Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper, like the first real HOOPERS hoopers, they’re so old that you on get snippets. You don’t ever really get good film of them so I’ve never really seen a full game of my mom. Little snippets, but never a full game. Lisa Leslie was who I looked up to growing up.

Q: Who is the GOAT of the WNBA? (Taurasi is referred to as that already)

A: I don’t think DT’s the GOAT because she doesn’t play defense. I don’t know if we have an all-around GOAT that’s in our generation.

My reply: I would say Tamika Catchings. Five Defensive Player of the Year Awards, an MVP and a Champion.

Her response: Ohhhh, I forgot about Tamika because she’s gone. I could give you Tamika because she was like a do-it-all type, but Tamkia wasn’t “pretty” so even though she was putting up stats, she never got the attention for her offensive game. Tamika played every position on the floor, so I would totally agree with Tamika being the GOAT. I’ll give you that.

Q: How is it being re-united with your former teammate?

A: It’s great! Little Brookey! She killed it yesterday. I hope we both make the team because that’s my baby.

Q: Favorite player in the NBA?

A: My brother. My other favorite player, Dirk, retired this year.

Q: How was the change in food Overseas and was it different everytime?

A: It’s different every time. Depending on where you’re at, you eat a lot of fast food and sometimes that’s the only thing that tastes like home or only thing that you know what it is. I love China, even though I don’t eat meat in China. The way they prepare their vegetables is so amazing, their vegetables are so good. Every vegetable. I don’t even eat mushrooms and I be in China trying to eat mushrooms. I’m basically a vegetarian when I go to China because they don’t have a lot of fish options, they only eat meat and vegetables. So I pretty much eat shrimp, rice and vegetables and I don’t have shrimp every dish so a lot of the time it’s vegetables and rice. You can live it that way just because the vegetables are so good, like you can just survive.

Q: What are your personal goals for the season?

A: I don’t like saying accolades because I feel like it’s just a lot more than it needs to be. I definitely want to make an impact and I definitely feel like that ten minutes stuff is a wrap. So I’m excited to be on a roster where I can compete for real minutes, I’m not trying to see no “DNP” this season, I’m good on that. So hopefully I can really compete and have a vital role. I’m tryna be front page of Scout this year, ya know? I’m tryna get worried about so that’s really it, but I just wanna play basketball man.

Q: What’s your feeling of Coach Agler so far?

A: He cool. I’ve heard a lot about him and stuff and I can see he’s very detail oriented, he talks a lot so you have to listen. In his practices you have to be focused because he’s gonna talk and ask you what he said. He’s not just talking, he needs you to retain it so you just got to be focused the whole time. Luckily we run kind of the same offenses so it wasn’t crazy, it’s just the way he teaches his offenses is very much like “you can do this, if they do that”, so you have to be able to understand it’s not you just run this play because he said to. I also appreciate the way we practice. He practices so everybody is good and comfortable on every part of the floor. For him, it’s more like if you’re making the right play, I don’t really care. Just do it where you’re at because it’s the right play. Now if you make the wrong play, he’s gonna get on your ass, but it’s easy to play like that. Just do the play for everybody and your shot comes. It’s not like having to funnel the ball to so and so. It’s about like who’s getting the best shot for them as opposed to so and so has to take this shot or YOU can’t shoot here, which is really cool.

Q: How was your experience Overseas?

A: It was an experience. I got cut from one team, I quit another team, so uh..I got cut from the Chinese team because they couldn’t afford me, my price was too high and they kind of ran out of money. Then my Turkey team, we wasn’t good and it was just like, we played once a week and we barely practiced. I was like, I could be at home doing the same thing

Q: Talk about your book

A: So, it’s weird because I’m so far removed from my book at this point. It’s been out for a year and I wrote it probably a year before that. It’s pretty much about the process of falling in love, finding out it may not be what you thought it would be and getting a divorce. Just that whole process of love, learning yourself through heartbreak and forgiving yourself for a mistake you’ve made. I think for me, I learned so much in my marriage. I got married and twenty and had been with him since I was seventeen. So, totally a pup and I grew a lot in that situation. I made decisions that I regret and that I don’t like that I did. So just kind of navigating that and especially as a woman I learned. I never really learned to just be okay with being myself. I was always learning my worth through being someone’s daughter, or someone’s girlfriend, or someone’s wife. I never learned my worth by just being okay by being Imani. I think a lot of our relationship, especially being so young, we took so much pride in being each other’s partner, as opposed to just being comfortable in our own skin, ya know? So I think a lot of that plays into just young love in general and it’s kind of just that whole process of heartbreak and sucky suckness and all of that.

Q: In your opinion, what were the biggest challenges while writing the book?

A: Vulnerability. I was so scared to put that book out because it’s so naked. So that was probably the scariest part. I’m a vulnerable person in terms of just the stuff I do. I talk about my mental health, I thought about being a survivor of sexual abuse, but it’s different. It’s just a different type of thing when you’re talking about something so close to you, because I got divorced on the sly. Nobody knew. I really just popped up with a new name one day. I didn’t publicize it, people didn’t know we were split up, nothing. Especially being back in Texas, the media came to our wedding. We had Austin statesmen, articles about us being together and stuff. At my games they would zoom in on him and the Chicago Tribune wrote a piece about us. It was just a lot. It got to the point where I was saying “the only reason I was staying in my relationship is because I was scared of what other people were gonna say.” So putting that book out, being very vulnerable and honest about what happened and even my own mistakes in the situation were scary.

Q: What are some of your favorite reactions that you’ve gotten from your book?

A: Anytime someone says they bought my book, I’m like ready to cry. Then people say they read it and they get it and felt those things, because the one thing I love about poetry is that it connects people. I can come in a room with someone that has a completely different background, a completely different socioeconomic status or race or whatever. We’re connected on a shared human experience. We’ve all been heartbroken, or we’ve all been hurt, or happy, or angry and so that’s why I preach about poetry. Getting people hitting me like “ Yo I just went through a breakup, I felt all of this” or “Wow I really connected with that.” That’s always what it’s about. It just makes me feel good.

Q: Do you expect book #2 anytime soon?

A: Mannnnnn… not anytime soon, but I’m gonna work on it. I think I need some more happy times, I need to live a little bit more. My first book, I just had to put it out, it felt important. A lot of it was just, like I don’t believe in divorce, so getting divorced I felt defeated and so a lot of people were like Ibneed to have something there to commemorate this moment because it happened. Whether it ended good or bad, it happened and I don’t regret that it happened. A lot of my book was that I need this moment to be memorialized. I want my 2nd book to be more about the positive part and I think a lot of me just telling my story is more about focusing on the positives and the future. I’ve got a little more life to live, but it’s coming though. It’s going to come.

Q: What do you think would be more beneficial short-term, expanding the league or creating a G-League?

A: Expanding the league. We don’t have enough for a G-League yet. Easiest thing would be to just add a roster spot. One more.

Q: What do you think the ceiling for this team is?

A: Honestly, we really should get far. We just got to figure it out. The one thing about Dallas is they don’t close because they don’t focus. Like yesterday was kind of an example of that so we just have to figure out how to focus and get out of some of our bad habits. We got the talent on the roster.

 

After talking with all these players, I gathered a few things just based on some of their answers. For one, none of these girls like Game of Thrones. Which saddens me because it’s awesome and I love it. Secondly, I was unable to really convince any of them that a hot dog is a sandwich. Which, if think about it, it’s technically not a sandwich, but also a sandwich at the same time. Maybe it’s just me, I’m not sure. I also discovered that Allisha and Kayla are best friends. This “new” duo of best friends will run it back, unlike last years combo of Azura Stevens and Liz Cambage. Lastly, and on a more serious note. This team believes in it’s potential and according to every player, so does coach Agler. This team is going into this season as one of the most underrated in the league and assumed by many to have the leagues worst record. With a halfway new team, new coaches, and one less all-star for little while, this team has a lot to prove. According to these ladies it is a defensive mindset in place for this year. In years past the Wings have been more so known on the offensive end ranking atop the league in the past two seasons. If this team can get it going defensively and hold down the fort until Skylar is back, it could mean bad news for the rest of the league.

 

The team made their final cuts on Wednesday night, placing Moriah Jefferson on the temporary suspended list, waiving Megan Gustafson and Kennedy Burke.

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