Love, Basketball and Egg Rolls

May 23, 2007

Ebony Hoffman defends against Minnesota's Nicole Ohlde.
Frank McGrath/PS&E Photo
After spending the WNBA off-season playing basketball in Lithuania, Indiana Fever forward Ebony Hoffman returned to the United States with more than a successful season to talk about. She returned with an engagement ring. While overseas, Ronald Cass, Hoffman’s boyfriend of seven and a half years, proposed to her unexpectedly.

It was a chilly evening in Lithuania, around 10 p.m., and Ron was trying to get Ebony to take out the trash with him. Ebony didn’t quite understand why she had to take the trash out with him and why he wanted to go outside when it was so cold out anyways. Little did she know that was all part of Ron’s plan.

“Ron all of a sudden said that he had to tie is shoe,” Ebony said. “Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him.” Ebony said yes and then started making plans for her October 20, 2007 wedding.

Ron and Ebony met when they were in college. They are both originally from Los Angeles, California and both attended colleges in California. A friend thought the two of them would be a good match and set them up on a blind date. “I was nervous about a blind date, because those usually don’t go too well,” Ebony said. “I was afraid I was going to be meeting a clown or something!”

Coincidentally, Ron and Ebony met each other in a pick-up basketball gym late one evening and that was where it all began. They have been together ever since, and continue to work together as a team and constantly make each other laugh.

Laughing and basketball, in fact, are common traits. While Hoffman is regarded as one of the Fever’s most outgoing, humorous, loudest and engaging personalities, Cass is equally as engaging and animated. If laughing and basketball are common denominators, the 1990s motion picture “Love and Basketball” is a movie which even they say closely reflects their relationship.

Through the time they have been together, they still continue to play basketball – with each other.

Ron is a practice player for the Fever. He and several guys practice with the Fever regularly. “I am very competitive, just like Ebony and the rest of the team,” Ron said.

And when they’re not practicing with the Fever, they still like playing 1-on-1 against each other. It is usually a toss-up as to who wins each time. “Everything stays on the court,” Ron said. “I don’t really have an ego, so everything is ok when we go home, even if I lose,” he said, with the big characteristic smile and grin they both seem to share.

However, basketball isn’t the only thing the two of them love to do. Ron works for Indy Parks and Recreation, and loves the interaction he gets to have with children. He also loves to cook for others, especially Ebony.

“He makes egg rolls that are to die for!,” Ebony said. That is one of her favorite things he makes her. Friend and teammate Tamika Catchings is also a sucker for Ron’s egg rolls. “I love cooking for the whole Fever team and having them all come over for a barbeque or team dinner,” Ron said.

Ebony aspires to do many other things once her career as a basketball player is complete. “The options are endless,” Ebony said. She would like to someday become a sports commentator, entrepreneur or coach. For now, Ebony is beginning her fourth year as a professional basketball player and would love to return to Lithuania again for the winter season.

While the future is very bright for the happy couple, at the moment, the only thing the two of them are really concentrating on (besides basketball) is their upcoming wedding. “Planning a wedding is very stressful, like ‘pull-your-hair-out’ stressful!,” Ebony said emphatically. “It was especially difficult while I was overseas in Lithuania.”

Ron and other family members chose the food for the wedding while Ebony was abroad. Ebony already has her wedding dress – she bought it in Spain while playing in Lithuania.

Ron is really looking forward to the wedding and already anticipates that there will be a lot of tears (happy tears of course) when the day comes. “I know I am going to be boo-hoo-ing the whole time,” Ron said.

“We aren’t going to do our own vows because we won’t be able to get them out!” Ebony said. “Everyone would be crying too much, so we are just going to repeat the traditional vows.”

The wedding will be in Long Beach, Calif., on a cliff, overlooking the ocean. The guest list is already around 280 people. The Fever family is invited to attend and Tamika Catchings is the maid of honor.

While Ron is ready for the wedding, Ebony is ready for the honeymoon. The destination for the honeymoon is yet to be determined, however, Ebony has requested to go somewhere where there is no basketball in the vicinity. “I need to be away from basketball for about a week and a half,” Ebony said, jokingly.

After the wedding, Ron and Ebony will live in Indianapolis in a house they have owned for the past two years. To read more about Ebony and Ron’s journey and upcoming wedding, visit www.weddingchannel.com" (type Ebony Hoffman or Ronald Cass in the search box and enjoy the story!).

- Kara Albert