Listen to the Holdsclaw teleconference
Chamique Holdsclaw, Washington Mystics
Top Vote-Getter, 2001 WNBA All-Star Balloting Presented by Yahoo!® Sports
July 9, 2001
Mystics forward Chamique Holdsclaw was the top vote getter in the WNBA All-Star Balloting Program Presented by Yahoo!® Sports. All of the Eastern and Western Conference starters were determined by fans through online balloting as well as team All-Star balloting nights in-arena. Holdsclaw will receive a trophy and a check for $10,000 to the charity of her choice at a ceremony prior to the All-Star Game at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, July 16.
Opening statement: When I found out that I was the leading vote-getter in this year's All-Star Game, I was truly excited and considered it such an honor. We play in a league that is really fan friendly, we go out in the community and we touch a lot of people. I just felt truly honored that the fans appreciate what I do, especially after I worked so hard to try and get in shape and really commit myself to this team and to basketball. I was excited. To play amongst the other great players in this year's All-Star Game down in Orlando, the weather's going to be nice and it's going to be a lot of fun.
Q: What does it mean to the Mystics to also have Nikki McCray voted as a starter for the East?
A: It would probably mean more if our team was going out there and had been more successful in the first part of the season. But we went out there and tried to do the best that we could do to try to help this team be successful, and tried to give of ourselves. I told Nikki, 'You're going to be a starter for the All-Star Game,' and she acted like she was shocked. But everyone knows what she can do. She's a tremendous player, and we're trying to fit into a new philosophy, so we just go out there and try to have fun. Our teammates respect us and we're having a good time, just trying to work hard and help our ball club win games.
Q: You'll be starting in the All-Star Game with three players from New York and you're from New York, do you wish you were playing for the Liberty?
A: Not at all. T-Spoon [Teresa Weatherspoon] paged me the other day and she said, 'Gosh, I'm so excited to be playing with you in the All-Star Game,' and I'm excited also. It's an opportunity to step back and relax for a second and enjoy the festivities, and to play with so many great players.
Q: Can you talk more about your offseason training and what prompted you to recommit yourself to basketball like you have?
A: It was a matter of being disappointed. I've been playing with these foot injuries, and it can kind of get on you mentally. You can get down about it. I knew once I got my foot healthy, there wasn't a question in my mind that I could get back in shape. Having an opportunity to do that without all the injuries and the different pain, and not being able to do this and that, I just needed to get that rest and get an opportunity to be healthy.
Q: Would your selection as a starter mean more to you if the coaches or your peers had chosen you?
A: There's probably a different level of respect, but it's like all All-Star Games. The men have been doing it for years, where the fans vote because the fans are going to vote for who they want to see. It's a marketing thing. They want people to come out and support us, so the fans are given an opportunity to say, 'This is who we want to see, this is who excites us.' It would be cool either way for me, if my peers did it or the fans. It's been this way for so long and it's what the fans look forward to. It's giving them back something.
Q: How has it been getting used to Tom Maher's coaching system?
A: The funny thing is, I always joke with my coach and I love my coach. I think he's helped me learn a lot about the game of basketball mentally, being able to control things on the court, to really try to use my versatility and use my teammates better. It's been frustrating at times because it's a different philosophy. He wants our post players to shoot jumpers and be more versatile on the perimeter, to handle the ball. It's a different philosophy and a different system, so it's taken a little time for our team to gel and go out there and get it done. Everyone on the team has had their struggles. The cool thing about it is that we've really stayed together as a team. We're out there trying to help each other get over this slump and end the season really strong.
Q: Is the All-Star break a good time for the team to regroup?
A: Definitely. The season is halfway done and this second half of the season is going to be really big for us. We have to go out there and win some games because we're still in the hunt for that fourth playoff spot. We have to say, 'Okay, we played this way the first half, now we can make some things happen.' I think it's a good break, it's a time for everyone to say, 'Let's sit back, it's over with, let's start something new.'