Inside the minds of WNBA players

Have You Seen her?
Houston Comets Center Michelle Snow

Despite being a two-time WNBA All-Star and winner of the WNBA Most Improved Player Award in 2003, Houston Comets center Michelle Snow has been one of the quieter superstars in the league over the past few season. At 6-5, she can dunk (as she proved in the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game), rebound and wreak havoc for opposing teams defensively. Snow recorded 23 rebounds in Minnesota last season, became just the seventh player in league history to garner 20+ points and 20+ rebounds in the same contest and was even selected to represent the United States at the World Championships in Brazil last September. Yet Michelle, who is the oldest of five siblings, pursues and manages various business ventures outside the game of basketball.

Q. What is your motivation when don't feel like working out, running that extra mile, or waking up early?
"The last time I lost, I hate losing, I am probably the worst sore loser you will ever meet, I'm very bad. I take it hard and if I'm going to play this game I just want to leave everything I have on the floor. And I don't care who you are, how great of a player you are, you can't play at a 100% the whole 40 minutes. Everyone on the court makes mistakes from your best player to your worst, so no matter how well I play I know that there are certain concessions I could have done something else to help the team. I think if you've got a heart and want to play this game then that will continue to motivate you to come in and work hard."

Michelle Snow, Houston Comets
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. How and when did you first start playing basketball?
"I've been playing basketball since before I can remember. It's a family tradition with us, every Sunday, we get together and eat together with family, friends, then we go to the park. I was the little girl who wanted to be out there with Daddy and the uncles and all of that, so it kind of just rubbed off on me, and everybody's kind of helped me with the dribbling and shooting or this or that so as far as I can remember I've been playing this game and I just love it."

Q. Who have been some of the major basketball and non-basketball influences in your life?
"Biggest non-basketball was my parents, they sacrificed so much for me to achieve my dreams, when they had it, when they didn't have it, when they didn't necessarily think I was sane, my parents were like you can do whatever you want to do, so they have always been my biggest motivators and my biggest supporters. But there were a lot of other people who contributed as well, but I feel like your parents are the people who can make and break your dream, that's why I am really big about supporting the youth and encouraging them, there's a lot of people who are told you can't do this or that, and that should never be told to a child."

Q. Was there ever a time in your career when you thought about giving up the game or not continuing to push yourself?
"Only at one particular time, I lost my mom about two years ago to lupus, and I just didn't want to play at that time, it wasn't that I wanted to give up the game, I just felt that I loved the game so much and I didn't feel like I could give everything I had to my team and it wasn't fair. The fact that they were going to keep me no matter what, we don't want anybody else is one of the reasons I'm still in Houston, I love playing there and I really feel like that's going to be my home. I'm a loyal person and if you're loyal to me I'll be loyal in return.

Q. Do you think about your diet?
"Actually I shop a lot at the Whole Foods Market, I'm trying to do better, because I'm young, I'm thin so I can eat what I want, but you have to look at health issues down the line. So I want to start now developing a conscious effort to eat right, not eating a lot of fried foods, things like that, its hard because right now you can get away with it, but it comes down to being disciplined, and it comes back to do you love the game and love yourself, and it's more than just basketball it's about you. Basketball is 1% of my life, like you come in to work and interview and it's your job but it's not your life, so as far as eating I like to take care of myself first."

Q. How often do you work out?
"Every day, there are not many days that I take off, because even if the team is off I am working with a personal trainer, or I'm doing something. I don't like to sit still so I'm either going to lift or do abs or something every day."

Q. What else drives you? Are there other goals you've set for yourself off the court?
"I think what drives me is all the people who helped me get to where I am today, and so I feel like I have an opportunity to help other youth get to where I am, because somebody helped do it for me."