The Candice Wiggins Overseas Experience
|Minnesota's Candice Wiggins wants to bring fans to the overseas experience of a WNBA player|
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For many players, competing overseas during the WNBA offseason provides ample opportunity to stay in shape and focus on areas of their game that they’d like to improve upon. But there's an added bonus to months on the road in countries all over the world. While year-round competition no doubt enhances their overall abilities as a player, practically every one says it’s the experience that helps shape them as a person.
As far as Minnesota’s Candice Wiggins is concerned, some of her favorite memories stem from living overseas in Spain, where she played alongside her childhood idol DeLisha Milton-Jones. That is why Wiggins is aiming to bring that same experience to the fans in her newest project, “The Candice Wiggins Overseas Experience.”
Acting as a tour guide, Wiggins is planning out an eight-day trip to Spain in October 2011 that includes stops in big cities like Madrid and Valencia, the latter in which Wiggins played her first overseas season, along with cities like Seville, Cordoba, and Granada that give a more rustic feeling to the landscape.
“The overseas experience is what makes the WNBA so special as well,” said Wiggins. “One of my favorite places to play is the Staples Center because I grew up in Southern California. So we get to play at home and we love it, but then we get to go overseas and it’s this whole life that no one ever sees.”
Die-hard fans can easily read game recaps, player features and news updates in an effort to follow their favorite players during the WNBA offseason, but it’s the overseas lifestyle that Wiggins is trying to pass on.
“Whether it’s basketball or volleyball or any other sport, it’s a whole new world,” Wiggins said of playing overseas. “It’s beautiful, it’s fun, the culture – this trip is just an experience for everyone to see and also come along with me because I’ll be on the trip too.”
The idea stems from her school days at Stanford, where professors would organize trips to different countries and give students a chance to embrace cultures and lifestyles in other parts of the world. Wiggins took notice, and decided to put a different spin on it.
“I just started thinking about how they could work in the basketball world, specifically my personal experience,” said Wiggins. “That’s why it’s called 'The Candice Wiggins Experience.’ It’s my feelings about these countries that I played in, lived in, cried in, laughed in. I grew up. I became a woman here.”
Wiggins is confident she won’t pose as just another tour guide. Her experience of living in those areas, meeting the people and discovering new things on her own provides what she describes as a special inside-the-huddle atmosphere. She aims to share some personal stories along the way as well; stories that range from simple incidents, like locking her keys in her apartment, to the odd pre-game rituals at the arena in Spain.
“For our games we’d warm up and they’d play every single day, every single game, the whole soundtrack to the movie Grease,” she laughed. “It’d start with ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘Greased Lightnin’ and ‘You’re the One that I Want.’ The first time I heard it I was like, ‘This can’t be real.’”
Like many WNBA players throughout the league, Wiggins places an emphasis on connecting with the fan and maintaining an open line on outlets such as Twitter, her personal blog or her latest post on SLAM Online. This opportunity is just another way in which she aims to go above and beyond for the fan.
“Wherever we go, we’ll be prepared for anything,” Wiggins said.
“It’ll be a great way for WNBA fans to see how the rest of the world plays in different countries. I want to really see what the fans think of the Spanish fans. They’re fun, it’s loud, but it’s the same – everyone loves basketball all over the world.”
For more information, and to sign up for trip updates, visit Ice's Adventures.