Chat Transcript: New GM Ann Meyers
Ann stopped by PhoenixMercury.com on Thursday to chat live with fans. Check out what the new GM had to say about this year's team, Paul Westhead's system and much more.
Barry (Phoenix): What are your qualifications to be a General Manager?
Ann Meyers: I would like to think that my 40 years in the game would help me. From the first year this league has started, I've been in constant interaction and communication with not only WNBA coaches and GMs but also NCAA coaches and ADs. I completely understand any concerns, but I hope my experience and my relationships in this game and a great foundation that Seth Sulka has set for me, and the hardworking staff of the Mercury, will all combine for us doing a good job.
hendersonville,n.c.: Way to go! I know you'll do a terrific job. What position do you need to address first to compliment Diana and Cappie?
Ann Meyers: Everbody knows, it's no secret, that the Mercury needs rebounding. We will look at all areas, trades, drafting and free agents to improve that. Nothing is set in stone here, with positions. Diana and Cappy are two of the premier players in the WNBA, but also, Paul Westhead has brought us an exciting style of play which has enhanced Taurasi and Pondexter's game. Certainly, Kelly Miller and Penny Taylor were a big part of that. Also, we had good chemistry last year, which is also key. Every year is different, of course, but we hope to keep the good chemistry going, but we'll keep working to improve our team, and certainly post play is very important. Also a stronger bench.
Howard (Wash, DC): Ann: Congratulations on becoming the Mercury GM! My question is, how will you handle the Sandora Irvin situation? Can she help the Mercury win or will you try to trade her?
Ann Meyers: That's a great question. I've only been here for two weeks, and I'm still talking with Seth and Paul about where players fit in here. There are many things to consider, with contracts, health and where players fit in, their progress and their commitment. At this early stage, I'm still gathering information. I know Sendora is a talent and we hope that talent will come out and she will perfrom in the WNBA.
Meg (Arizona): You tried out for an NBA team? Wow that's impressive. Can you just tell me what that was like? What happened?
Ann Meyers: Meg, you must not have been born then! (Laughing) Ha-ha. It was a long time ago, and we did have the WBL at the time, and I was the No. 1 pick. But at the time, two things were important to me, my degree at UCLA and also to stay amateur for the 1980 OIympics. At that time you had to be an amateur to compete. We won the Silver in the 1976 Olympics. My brother was an All-American at UCLA under Coach Wooden and won two NCAA Championships and was playing in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks. When I was asked by the new owner of the Indiana Pacers Sam Nassi to try out, I thought it was an opportunity of a lifetime. And it was the best decision I ever made. And from there I got into broadcasting, which allowed me to stay in the game.
Phil (MI): Ann, it's great to have you on board. I think your knowledge of the players and the game will get the Mercury back into the playoffs. Everyone keeps saying the Mercury needs a big player to get over the hump. But how important is it really when you have a system like Coach Westhead's?
Ann Meyers: Phil, we need a Hank Gathers (Laughing) Ha-ha. Hank wasn't particularly big, but boy, could he rebound. Shots will be missed, and Paul's system there are lots of shots taken and points scored. So we need people who can run and people who can by physical inside and rebound those missed shots. And with those rebounds, we can then get our fastbreak going.
Alexa (Las Vegas): Welcome to the Phoenix family. Which Mercury player are you most excited to see play this upcoming season?
Ann Meyers: Oh, gosh. I'm just excited to be a part of the whole team. It's such a great opportunity. I've seen these players since college, some since high school. Any fan of the game would be thrilled to see someone like Diana Taurasi play the game. But this is a team here. As much as we love Diana, she'd be the first one to tell you, it takes more than one person. Everyone has their special role on this team. Whether you are a Dee fan, a Cappy fan or Penny fan, or Kelly Miller fan. Or a Rasmussen or Vodichiva, or a Smith or Lacey fan, who enjoys watching them come off the bench and give us a jolt of energy, I'm happy to be a part of this team and to work with Coach Westhead on making us the best team we can be.
Jen (Washington): What has been your proffesional highlight? Either as a player or after.
Ann Meyers: Wow. It's not just one thing. I feel blessed to have basketball and sports as part of my life. Certainly being an Olympian in 1976 and winning the national championship with UCLA. As a fourth-grader I read a book on Babe Didrickson and always wanted to be an American Olympian. Also, the tryout with the Pacers and later to be able to broadcast basketball...both mens and womens, from Final Fours to national championships. Whether it was NBC or ESPN/ABC or CBS and to call championship games, it's all been a real pleasure.
kristin: as the gm of the mercury, what do u think u can do to help them go to the playoffs?
Ann Meyers: Phoenix has a strong tradition, the first three of four years they made the playoffs. Hopefully I can help Paul out. Paul and Seth had a great relationship and Seth left me in good hands. If and when we get to the next level, it won't be solely because of me. We are a team here and we're all going to work together to get back into the playoffs and compete for a WNBA championship. There are lots of factors involved, including getting the right players in place, a nice blend of veterans and young players. We have great leadership here, starting with Paul and his staff. And veterans like Taurasi, even though she is so young, are good leaders. It's not just going to be me. I'll be making some decisions on players, and I'll make good decisions and some mistakes too, but I'm confident we can pull together and get this team on track. I go into things to win. And I expect this team to win and make the playoffs. That's the competitive nature in me and we want to be competitive in Phoenix and compete for a WNBA title.
Ann Meyers: I realize there may be some questions, but I'm confident in my ability to do good things here. I'd like to thank the fans and my friends in and out of the basketball world for their support. I'm thankful to our owner Robert Sarver for this opportunity. It's not like I haven't been asked before. Sinc e the league has started, I've been asked to coach or be a GM with one team or another, but being a single Mom with three children the timing was never right. Now it is, and I really look forward to the challenge. Thank you for your support and good wishes and I will do the best I can for the Phoenix Mercury.