From L.A. to Indy: A Conversation with Ebony Hoffman, Part II

Ebony Hoffman recently completed her first season in the WNBA, and took time with the Fever website to reflect on her first season, playing alongside Tamika Catchings, working toward her second pro season, and spending an offseason in Indianapolis. Following is the second of two parts of a chat with the friendly, usually outspoken and always animated Ebony Hoffman.

FW: How has life been in Indianapolis, compared to L.A.?
EH: ďIím a lot different from most people in L.A., because I never really grew up a city girl to begin with. I was always a homebody in Los Angeles. In my opinion, L.A. is not for young people Ė if youíre under 21, itís not the greatest place to be because youíre limited in what you can do.

ďL.A.ís real fast, there is always stuff going on, but I love Indianapolis. Iím actually thinking of making a transition to move here. The city is nice, the people are great. The highway is not hard to follow Ė 465 is a big circle and no traffic jams! Boy, thatís the biggest thing! I can leave the house 20 minutes before an appointment and donít have to worry about being late Ė instead of having to leave an hour-and-a-half before the appointment actually starts.

ďItís a lot different from my home, but the only hard part for me is not having my family around. I grew up in L.A., I went to college in L.A., and now Iím in a completely different part of the country. The weather has been the biggest change for me. Iíve dealt with everything else, but the weather is getting a little cold. My car has to warm up in the morning and Iíve never had to do that before!"

FW: Have you bought yourself a heavy coat?
EH: "Yes! Iíve been to Burlington Coat Factory and Iíve picked up a wool coat. As long as I have cable, PlayStation 2 and a heater, Iíll be o.k. Those are important requirements!"

FW: What are your hot games on PS2?
EH: "Oh! (laughing) Tamikaís going to kill me! Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Ė that is the ultimate game right now. Red Dead Revolver is great! Madden 2005 and NBA Live, those are both great games."

FW: So Ö why is Tamika not going to like your last answer?
EH: "(laughing again) She loves Tiger Woodsí game. She beats me at it because she plays it all the time. I play four or five different games all the way through, but she plays one Ė all day long. She annihilates me at Tiger Woods because she has this creative player customized to Tamika Catchings. Itís incredible. I still have to learn Tiger Woods, but Iím going to catch her sooner or later."

FW: When you play NBA Live, who wins?
EH: "I win! Oh, I win, [Tamika] doesnít know how to play. She always wants to play Tiger Woods. She knows how to play Madden a little bit, but her favorite is Tiger Woods."

FW: Who are the top three players in the NBA, and why?
EH: "LeBron James has surprised a lot of doubters, especially this year. The guy is a beast, he is incredible. Last year, I thought Carmelo Anthony was better than him because he had played a year in college. He had an extra year to grow. But this year, I think LeBron is the best wing player in the NBA. His shooting has improved dramatically. Heís blowing people away, and he seems to be physically jumping higher than he did before! Heís amazing. I think the other player is Kevin Garnett. Those two right now are 1 and 1 Ĺ on the scale. Garnett Ė his numbers are impeccable Ė 25 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists last night. How could you not want THAT GUY on your team right now? If weíre on a playground right now and weíre picking teams, I want Garnett. Even ahead of LeBron. The third guy Ö hmmm.

"Iíll would take the younger Shaq. Heís still a force, but heís not in my top three right now. Iím not a real Kobe fan, he doesnít help his teammates get better. The Cavs, for instance, and Denver, theyíre both rejuvenated. Look at what LeBron and Carmelo have done. But Kobe hasnít done that. L.A. is down again. I was a Steve Francis fan until this year. And my fiancť is a big Steve Francis fan. Iím a T-Mac [Tracy McGrady] fanatic, but he gets hurt too much. He doesnít take care of his body enough Ė thatís not enough of a complete player if youíre hurt and not helping your team. I guess youíd have to go with Kobe, I hate to say it. Can you rephrase the question to include just the top two?"

FW: Who is the most underrated player in the NBA?
EH: "Good question. Iíve got to go with Michael Redd who plays with the Bucks. Heís really a great, great player that nobody seems to know about just because he plays in Milwaukee."

FW: What is a typical offseason day in the life of Ebony Hoffman right now?
EH: "Well, I live in Indy now full-time and Iím here to train and work with the franchise until the start of the season. Usually, Iíll get up and have breakfast around 7:45. I have a daily workout scheduled at St.Vincent Sports Performance Center at 10:00 where I do weights, plymetrics, some cardio, yoga, pilates, pretty much everything they tell me to do! Darrell Barnes usually schedules my workouts. He has me working to get better physically Ė in everything I do. I am usually there with him from about 10 until noon. Depending on the day, I usually shoot with Julie Plank or Chuck Person, for about an hour from 1:30 to 2:30. And then I usually meet up with Tamika in the afternoons or evening.

"Pretty much everyday, Iíll meet with Tamika and weíll go to dinner, or a movie. One day we played ďClueĒ for about two hours! We were looking for something to do that day, so we went into Toys ĎR Us, just to find a game. Itís a fun game, and just about anybody can play it. I won, so Iím the champion!"

FW: You mentioned your fiancť. What would you like to fell Fever fans about him?
EH: "His name is Ronald Cass. Weíve been engaged for a couple of years, since I was at USC, but we have no specific plans to get married yet. I want to graduate first."