Anna Cruz: The Tourist Point Guard

Spain native Anna Cruz is spending her first season in the WNBA and first summer in New York City. Liberty analyst Ros Gold-Onwude caught up with her about her overall transition. What have you done in New York for fun so far?
Anna Cruz: I searched for things to do on the internet and used Google. I went to downtown Manhattan and Times Square. I went shopping, I like to see the stores. I went to FAO Schwartz, wow, I've never seen a store for toys like this, so big! I went to the M&M shop. So many big stores! I'm a typical tourist yes? (Laughs). I took the train to Grand Central Station and it was nice, beautiful and incredible. I went to Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler building and Central Park. I did this on my day off.

NYL: How have the people of New York City treated you?
AC: They are nice people. I try to ask them questions because I sometimes am lost. They're nice and polite and they helped me. They walk fast. Sometimes I try to say "excuse me" and ask them a question and they zoom past me.

NYL: You and many of the players live in White Plains, how is that different that what you expected of the city?
AC: I think White Plains is just for sleep. It's a residential town. I like it too because the city is too much stress. I grew up in Bardalona, close to Barcelona. It's residential too, like a suburb. I live with my parents and twin brother, Sergi.

NYL: What is your twin brother like? AC: Sergi was born five minutes earlier than me. He plays basketball for fun. He likes to say he taught me the good things. He's working now but he likes to surf.

NYL: When do you speak to your family and friends back home? Who do you always talk to?
AC: I speak to my family, my father and boyfriend every day with Skype. New York has a six-hour time difference. I talk to them at three or four pm because after that everyone is asleep.

NYL: What is your favorite American food?
AC: I think a hamburger. I went to Burger Joint and had a cheeseburger.

NYL: What is your favorite Spanish dish?
AC: Paella. It's rice with a lot of things in it. You can put vegetables, chicken or seafood in it. I like Tortilla de Patata it is a Spanish Omelette. ...No I can't cook it.

NYL: You are working on your English, do the players on the Liberty try to speak to you in Spanish?
AC: Sometimes they try to say title things: Hello, good bye, vamos! Tina, Delisha, Essence and sometimes coach Katie says "Hola chica!" Coach Barbara played in Spain and will say some words.

NYL: Does Bill Laimbeer try to speak any Spanish to you?
AC: (Laughs) No! He only says "Ay, caramba!" for the turnovers.

NYL: What is it like to play for Bill Laimbeer?
AC: He is strict. He likes details. I think we need more practice to know each other for things to get better.

NYL: Do you know much about his legacy in his playing days in the NBA?
AC: He was fighting with everybody. The Bad Boy of Detroit. I like to have a player like this on my team. They fight for the team. (Laughs) It's different if you are playing against them.

NYL: What does playing for the New York Liberty mean to you?
AC: It is a dream. When I was young I never thought I could be here; it's like a dream come true. Whenever I spoke to my agent and he talked about the WNBA I think it's for the big name players. It's a big thing; I never thought a player like me could be here. Now I'm here and I'm super extra happy! It is ok it took time to be here, I prefer to be in the WNBA when I am ready.

NYL: Liberty fans have taken a liking to you; what message do you have for the fans?
AC: I appreciate that. It's hard for me to be the only foreigner on the team and I appreciate that they love me- I love them, too. Thank you for supporting me.