13 Teams, 1 Journey: Alex Chambers tours the WNBA

July 17, 2009 | By Ericka Sanders

Frank McGrath / PS&E Photo
No, Alex Chambers isn’t short for Alexandria. It’s short for, well, Alex. He’s a man who loves the WNBA so much that he’s currently on a journey to see all 13 teams live. The Indiana Fever is team No. 9.

Chambers wasn’t a big basketball fan when he received Phoenix Mercury season tickets as a college graduation gift in 1999. After attending the game witnessing how great the players were and how hard they played, he instantly became a fan. So much so he works out on Sundays with former Fever player Bridgette Pettis.

“She puts her foot in my behind for an hour,” Chambers said.

Crowned a WNBA Super Fan, Chambers’ mission to visit every WNBA arena is in honor of a close friend, Cyndee Luquee, who lost her battle to breast cancer in April 2008. The two went to high school together and worked alongside one another for several years. Chambers acknowledges that the league’s awareness to highlight breast cancer and honor survivors each season is another reason he wanted to go on such a journey and blog about it.

On his way to Washington next, Chambers talked with FeverBasketball.com before he took flight.

It’s no secret that men aren’t the biggest fans of women’s basketball. If I were your guy friend and you had an extra ticket to a game, how would you convince me to come along?

Hit them over the head (laughs). No, actually I have a friend who coached youth basketball and I tried to get him to come to a game. He really didn’t want to go, but finally he came. I think that once (guys) see the quality of the sportsmanship and the quality of the athleticism and skill, then it’s up to them to admit whether they like it or not.

My fantasy is to get NBA season ticket holders, especially those who have said that they’d never go to a WNBA game, to come to a game and have them on hidden camera. After the game, if they choose to say, “No, I didn’t really enjoy it,” show them the tape of all the times they were jumping out of their seats. I’ve seen guys jumping out of their seats screaming and yelling.

Why are you such a big fan?

I think because I didn’t have that pre-disposition of mainstream sports, I was able to see just the sport and not the gender first. Instantly, when you see women’s basketball, some discount it because of the gender.

You’re a special education teacher. What are you learning from this journey that you can go back and teach your students?

I would teach them about the camaraderie and sportsmanship. Games get intense, especially in the fourth quarter when the game is close. However, for the most part, when the game is over, the players go and hang out with each other. I talked with (Detroit Shock player) Katie Smith about it. You’re competing one minute, and a couple months later you’re on the Olympic team together or overseas. I think the women’s basketball community is still very small and tight.

They are all such great friends, and that is sportsmanship. It’s the pinnacle of what kids need to know about sports. I think the more sportsmanship you have, the more appreciaton for the sport you have.

Since you’ve been working out with Bridgette have you had the chance to play one-on-one with a WNBA player?

I would feel honored to play in a casual setting. The only reason I would play is to watch and learn from them. I could watch how they move and how they shoot. That would be above phenomenal.

Read Alex’s blog at www.13teams1journey.com and www.wnba.com.