One-on-One With Tari Phillips
July 10, 2001


The 2001 All-Star Game should be a lot more fun for Tari Phillips than All-Star 2000. Not only is she a starter this time around rather than a reserve. she's completely healthy. Last summer, Phillips played the All-Star Game on a broken foot. "It's a huge honor and I just want to be a part of it," Phillips said at the time. "I want to make sure I go out there and give it my best."

Phillips was the leading scorer for the Liberty last season, averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 rebounds a game while leading New York to the WNBA Championship Series, where the Liberty lost to the Houston Comets.

Before joining the Liberty in a trade from the Portland Fire right before the 2000 season, Phillips had averaged 4.1 points and 2.1 rebounds a game for the Orlando Miracle in 1999. Her performance last season earned her the WNBA's Most Improved Player award, and she just keeps getting better.

This season, Phillips is averaging 15.8 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. She's led the Liberty in scoring 10 times this season, and she's posted seven double-doubles. It's no coincidence that the Liberty are now 13-5 and in first in the Eastern Conference. The versatile Phillips is also a talented singer who has performed the national anthem before Liberty games.

Phillips answered your questions about the All-Star Game, the Liberty and her singing career during a live chat on Tuesday, July 10. Read what she had to say:

Genna from at 5:12pm ET
How does it feel to be on the team for only two seasons and be a superstar?

Tari Phillips at 5:13pm ET
It feels great, coming from a disappointing first year in the league and it feels good to be incorporated into the system here in New York.
liberty_spoon11 from at 5:13pm ET
Have you ever dunked before? Will we ever see you dunk for the Liberty?

Tari Phillips at 5:15pm ET
Yes I have! It's very possible that you may see me dunk for the Liberty. If the situation presents itself, I'll try it in the All-Star Game.
Angel from at 5:15pm ET
Hi Tari, what has been the funniest thing to happen in a game to you/a teammate?

Tari Phillips at 5:16pm ET
One time I stole the ball and slapped it between Chamique Holdsclaw's legs to Sue Wicks for a layup.
BrettNYLfan from at 5:16pm ET
Do you have any superstitions?

Tari Phillips at 5:17pm ET
No, I don't have any superstitions. I do have a pre-game ritual. I listen to my gospel music and I call my mom and dad before every game.
Heather from at 5:17pm ET
Tari, who do you think has really stepped up there game this year on your team?

Tari Phillips at 5:18pm ET
I think everybody has in some way or form. Just when people forget about certain players like Sue Wicks, Spoon and I can talk about anybody ... It seems like everyone takes a turn to step up their games and it makes us well rounded.
Sharde from at 5:19pm ET
Hi Tari. You are having a great season! How does the teamwork between you, Vickie, and T-spoon work in every game?

Tari Phillips at 5:20pm ET
It's a collective effort and we agree that we'll work hard no matter what. Usually we get together in the circle, put our hands in and lock eyes and we collectively agree to go out and "Do Work." When someone is down at a particular time we try to pick them up.
Angel from at 5:20pm ET
If given the opportunity, would you coach in the WNBA? What did you do from your rookie season to now to be so good?

Tari Phillips at 5:21pm ET
Yes, I would love to coach in the WNBA. I just took a close look at my game and tried to improve those areas that needed improving in order to become a better player.
Ft Pierce, FL from at 5:22pm ET
When are you going to sing for the Madison Square Garden crowd again? We're waiting for that voice singing the national anthem!

Tari Phillips at 5:23pm ET
I'll sing again at our next sellout. I'll go up there and sing my lungs out!
Amechtre Fowlkes from at 5:23pm ET
Do you think that Rebecca Lobo is making good progress with her knee and what kind of personality does she have?

Tari Phillips at 5:24pm ET
Rebecca has a great personality and I commend her on her comeback. People don't realize how long she's been away. But her comeback will take some time and she wants to play.
Israeli Liberty Fan from at 5:24pm ET
Hi Tari, what do you do to improve your free throw percentage? You've been shooting much better lately, especially in clutch situations! Go Liberty!

Tari Phillips at 5:25pm ET
I figured that if I miss them at the beginning, they usually say I can't eat, no dinner for me and I love to eat. I try to put the ones that really count right on in there. Seriously, "practice makes perfect."
Sharde from at 5:25pm ET
Tari, can you give me some tips about being a small forward and a shooting guard for trying out for my high school JV league?

Tari Phillips at 5:27pm ET
What makes a complete player is having an all-around game and to be versatile. Work on dribbling and passing, which is vitally important, and work on your shooting from short range to long range in order to be a threat around the perimeter and a threat on the inside.
Bowe-Owens from at 5:27pm ET
Everyone keeps saying that Crystal (Robinson) is the funniest on the team, but every time you have interviews you crack jokes. Have you every played a joke on any of your teammates?

Tari Phillips at 5:28pm ET
Yes, I have. If someone leaves something, I'll pick it up and if it looks like they'll have a coniption, I'll wait til the last second to give it to them. Someone forgot a uniform on a road trip, I waited until the next city to give it to them. That's torture!
katy at 5:29pm ET
I read in the feature about you on the site that your mom is sick. How is she? And is there hope for a complete recovery? Congrats on your All-Star status!

Tari Phillips at 5:32pm ET
Thank you very much for inquiring. There's hope for her, and I'm hoping and praying and I thank those who are doing the same. We're starting a foundation for my mom to get the proper medical attention she needs. She is in great spirits and she's proud of what I'm doing on the court and I'm blessed to have her as my mother. It's called the Phillips Sarcoidosis Foundation and you can contact the Liberty for more information.
GoLiberty03 from at 5:33pm ET
Tari, how does it feel to be named for the All-Star by the fans compared to last year when you got picked by the coaches? Go Liberty!

Tari Phillips at 5:34pm ET
I feel it's truly an honor and a true testament of the people who have been supportive. Once again me being selected to a second consecutive All-Star is a gift itself and to do it in my hometown means a lot.
Sally from at 5:34pm ET
I love the muscle pose you do with (Liberty mascot) Maddie before each home game. How did that come about?

Tari Phillips at 5:35pm ET
In my position, I'm pretty deceptive. Most people don't know how physical and versatile I can be. I feel like I'm a warrior every time I step on the court and we give each other the mutual sign of strength and we go out to battle.
BARRY33B from at 5:35pm ET
Tari how are you reacting to your opponents double and triple teaming you?

Tari Phillips at 5:36pm ET
It's kind of annoying and a nuisance. It's a testament to all the attention drawn toward me. It opens up my teammates for scoring and open shots.
GoLiberty03 from at 5:37pm ET
Tari, do you think the East can win the All Star this year? Go Libs, go East!

Tari Phillips at 5:38pm ET
I definitely believe the East can win the All-Star Game. It's our mission. I know last year the bumps and bruises were received all in fun, but we want to bring the title to the East.

Tari Phillips at 5:40pm ET
I'd like to send out a warm heartfelt thanks to all the fans who supported me and I truly appreciate all the support from you. Much love to everyone out there from the bottom of my heart. Thanks!


Liberty's Phillips looking for sweet harmony

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"I definitely believe the East can win the All-Star Game. It's our mission. I know last year the bumps and bruises were received all in fun, but we want to bring the title to the East."