MVPs Headline Media Day
Though she's entering her fifth WNBA season, Lauren Jackson was making her Media Day debut when the Seattle Storm kicked off training camp this afternoon at the Sonics and Storm's business offices. Usually busy with overseas commitments, Jackson is reporting to camp on time for the first time in her career.
"Yeah, it is weird," Jackson said. "Yesterday was weirder, going through the fine book and everything. I was thinking, 'See, I had an excuse!' Now I have to do everything."
For Jackson's teammate Betty Lennox, this year's Media Day was different because Lennox was, along with Jackson, the marquee attraction. That's the result of a season during which Lennox finished third in Most Improved Player voting and garnered WNBA Finals MVP honors as the Storm won the WNBA Championship.
"You look around, I'm the only one still here," said Lennox when she finally found time to sit down with the media.
A year ago, the big news of Media Day was All-Star point guard Sue Bird - absent this year, playing in Russia - sharing the team's goal, "To win a championship this year." With that achieved, this year's session was more light-hearted, with Jackson pushing her desire for the Storm's promotional van to be re-painted with an updated action shot of her.
That's not to say the Storm doesn't have an equally important goal this year, staying on top.
"I think what's going to motivate the most and what's going to make me mad is everybody's trying to come after what I've got," explained Lennox. "They're going to make it difficult for me to keep or repeat what I've done last season. That's going to motivate me. I was once there, wanting what Detroit had, and you have to have an attitude about it, going out to get it. That's just playing hard every night. No game is a game off."
The Storm's MVPs enjoyed very different off-seasons. For Jackson, this winter and spring were a chance to rest after years of non-stop basketball. October ankle surgery put an end to that, keeping Jackson from playing in the WNBL in her native Australia and giving her the opportunity to take it easy.
"They (doctors) said they needed to do the reconstruction," said Jackson. "They said they needed to do all that stuff, but I think they found more damage in there than what they originally thought they were going to. Luckily, they did it, because they said if I had left it for a couple of years, it would have been irreparable."
For Lennox, going overseas to play in Italy was, "All work. It would have been different if I was going over there for a vacation situation, but it was all work and I really didn't get a rest. What I did get a little bit of rest was more mental. I was blessed to go over there and play five months without any injuries."
Lennox had no time off after the Storm's championship, leaving for home in Kansas City the day of the Championship Celebration and spending four days at home before heading for Italy. She did return home prior to reporting to Seattle two weeks ago to prepare for training camp.
"I did pretty well," said Lennox. "I got over there and I was leading the Italian League in scoring and my team was winning as well, so being over there was a great time and I still carried, I guess, that celebrity status as well."
The basketball transition was not difficult for Lennox. The cultural transition was somewhat different.
"I love America," she said. "It was different. Italy is not America. Being American over there, staying over there for a long period of time, you're not used to the things they have as opposed to what you're used to over here in the States. Just driving, the cars they issued to us, the food. The time frame and how they do stuff, how they run practice - we practiced twice a day every day and we played once a week."