Inside the minds of WNBA players

Have You Seen her?
Houstonís Tina Thompson

When the Houston Comets made forward Tina Thompson the first overall pick in the 1997 WNBA Draft, few could have predicted the impact she has had both for the Comets and the WNBA. In her nine-plus seasons, she has averaged nearly 16 points and 7 rebounds per game and played an instrumental role in every one of the Comets championships. Yet, despite injuries and the birth of her son, she has not shown any signs of slowing down. With a number of ways she can beat you, Thompson's hard work and motivation continues to bea source of inspiration to her teammates, her opponents and her fans.

Q. What is your motivation when don't feel like working out, running that extra mile, or waking up early?
"The funny thing about it is that I absolutely enjoy playing basketball, but I don't enjoy any of the things that lead up to it. But, if I want to be the best basketball player that I can possibly be, I have to do all of those things. So I never get up on any day ever anxious to go run a mile or get on the treadmill, the ellipitical or head into the weightroom. I am never in a great mood to do any of those things, but I know they are the things I have to do so I take it in stride."

Tina Thompson, Houston Comets.
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. Was there a time in your career of playing basketball when you actually thought about giving up the game?
"Oh yeah. Before there was a WNBA, the only basketball I looked forward to playing was Olympic basketball. I didn't aspire to play much basketball after college at all. I had plans to finish my undergraduate, which I did, and then go off to law school. I was definitely going into corporate America and had no intentions of going abroad or playing basketball. The WNBA was definitely a blessing and an opportunity that I could not pass up."

Q. So what else drives you? Have you set other goals you've set for yourself off the court?
"I still have law school in my future aspirations. That is definitely something that I would love to do. I have an interest in working as a basketball analyst and doing some color commentary. There are so many things that I see in my future and if the door is open and the opportunities are there, I am definitely going to take advantage."

Q. But in the meantime, you'll continue to work for the Comets, we hope. So as an original WNBA player also now in Year Ten, what are your thoughts?
"In my opinion we have gone from a league of veterans in which it seemed as if one era of basketball was being showcased and now we have younger players ready to take over... A true representation of how the game has evolved where the competition is getting bigger and better everyday and the versatility and athleticism is getting better and better all on display in the World's Most Successful Professional League, the WNBA!"