Digging Deeper Into The "Off-Season"
Here's the scoop; at the conclusion of the summer, a majority of WNBA players sign contracts with teams overseas to keep their bodies in shape and their game on point. With each passing year, players get better, which in turn makes WNBA play better. And overseas competition in the off-season is a large contributing factor to that success.
Sure, we see the updates about their play. But what else goes on? Is it all fun and games? Is it a cultural thrill? Or is it just part of the job? NYLiberty.com's Jessica Quas spans the globe and gets to the bottom of it all to find out more about their lives once the Liberty shuts its doors each year.
Today, she tracks down forward Tiffany Jackson in Israel.
How many seasons have you played overseas?
This is my second season.
Where was your favorite city to play in and why?
I really don't have a favorite city. Whenever you play at home; the home crowd is always great and full of energy.
Do you keep in touch with former overseas team-mates? Do they ever visit New York when you’re in town?
One of my team-mates from France came to visit New York unexpectedly. She took a tour of The Garden and left a note in my locker.
Have you ever tried to learn the country’s language before heading overseas?
Before going to France, I bought a translation dictionary. Just to pick up on the basics.
Have you ever picked up any of the language during your time overseas?
Yes, I usually learn a little ... food in particular.
How do you stay in touch with friends or family?
I usually Skype, AIM, e-mail and use MySpace to keep up with my friends and family.
Is there any time for fun/entertainment? Is it comparable to the U.S. in anyway?
We only play one game a week so I have a lot of down time. There are three malls within 10 minutes of my apartment (read: trouble) and the beach is only minutes away, too. So I manage to stay entertained.
Do you have a lot of free time to travel or sight-see? If not, is that something you’d be interested in?
I'm actually going to Jerusalem soon to see the Dead Sea and to go sight-seeing.
How do you stay up to date with the current, popular music and television shows while over there?
iTunes is my BFF, especially for TV shows. My friends usually keep me up on music. I have downloaded ESPN360 for all college football and basketball games. Also, I downloaded NBA Network so I can keep up with all the sports back home.
Do you ever eat any of the local cuisine or do you just stick to things you know?
Falafel. I do not eat meat so I can't venture off too much.
How would you describe your local culture? Can you relate to any of it? Does it feel like home in any way?
Israel is very American-ized, almost everyone speaks English. TV is in English, and they play all the current television shows and movies.
What is one of your fondest memories about playing overseas?
The experience itself, to have the opportunity to travel all over Europe and to do something that you love.
If you could play anywhere you haven’t before, where would it be and why?
I would love to play here in Israel again.
Since you and Kia [Vaughn] are both in Israel, is there ever time off where you are able to meet up with each other?
We haven't yet, but I'm sure we will. Israel is relatively small, so we probably aren't that far apart.
How is it playing on separate teams against each other?
I think it will be fun. It will be like college all over.
Which team is going to win on November 23rd?
Season tickets for the Liberty's 2010 campaign at Madison Square Garden are on sale now by calling 212-465-6073.