Where in the World is... Taj McWilliams-Franklin?
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Taj is no stranger to overseas travel (she has been to Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican City and Yugoslavia to either visit or play), but as a member of the Ansan Shinhan Bank S-Birds, the veteran forward is making her first extended visit to Korea. Her husband is currently serving in the military and is either on the verge of being deployed to Iraq or is already on his way to the Gulf region.
More About... South Korea
"Time away from family is during the holidays is probably the hardest thing about playing overseas," McWilliams-Franklin said. "I miss Ashja. She is a hoot," Taj said. "I miss just visiting someone in every city i go to."
However, Taj will be the first to admit that the experience has already been quite different than anything she has experienced in her years of playing professional basketball. She has yet to really venture out on her own as she has a full-time translator, a driver and does not speak the language. When asked about the one thing she missed most that she forgot to pack, she said all she needed was sour patch kids, which are probably hard to find across the globe.
However, she has tried the local Seafood soup, and is already a fan. Of course, her team employs professional chefs to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, so it's not like she's too far out of her comfort zone.
losing track of her mom during a shopping trip to Milan several years back made
her more cautious and less likely to venture out, but not bringing any family
or friends along for support or companionship enables her to focus on basketball.
Yet, she is still a superstar there and people always ask her how she compares
playing in Korea compared to WNBA.
The Connecticut Sun have advanced to the WNBA Finals the past two seasons thanks, in large part, to the play of Taj, who was an All-Star again in 2005. And with McWilliams-Franklin staying in shape in the offseason and competing against fellow All-Stars in Korea, look for the Sun to make a strong push to return to the playoffs and take that final step.