Fun stories with an adoring public

Players’ Most Interesting Encounters With Fans

WNBA players have been called the most accessible athletes in all of professional sports. Whether at a game, an appearance in the community or even at a mall or airport, they are out and about and have plenty of interesting and funny stories about their encounters with fans. So we asked a number of players, from superstars to role players, rookies and veterans about their most interesting encounters with their fans.

Yolanda Griffith, Sacramento Monarchs
"I've had a fan's daughter made me a scarf during the summertime, a matching hat with Mickey Mouse ears on it, we have this one fan an elderly lady, who takes all the photos during the game, and I'm always walking home with a package of photos that she took."

Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
"I've had good ones and bad ones. Some fans are shaking and crying like I'm Michael Jackson or somebody. I'm like I don't know what to do, don't cry or else I'm going to cry. So sometimes people's reactions are very heartwarming and touching, and other times it's just weird because I play basketball and I'm a female. I think that as far as my age I'm kind of timeless to people. Some people treat me like I'm a kid sometime's or grab me and say 'you have to come over here and meet my child,' while putting their hands all over me. I'm just like 'hey, wait, I'm an adult. Bring your child over here.' You can't just grab me because maybe my image, and just playing a sport makes people feel that we're kind of just girls or kids. I feel like Mickey Mouse sometimes because he has to go around and talk to all the kids."

Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
"I think the funniest thing with fans is when they see me in public, they don't really know if it's me or not, I don't know if I have two different looks, so I think the funniest is when people look at me and they want to ask but they don't and little kids are like 'Are you Tamika?,' but it's not the young kids who get excited it's the older kids."

Candice Dupree, Chicago Sky
"No, not really, I thought the biggest thing was one fan came out from Chicago all the way to L.A. to watch us play, but so far everything else has been normal."

Scholanda Dorrell, Sacramento Monarchs
"Nothing really yet to speak of, but what I can say is the Sacramento fans remind me a lot of the LSU fans, they're very similar. We have great fans. I loved my fans in college and the Monarchs fans are great. They're so supported and even a few fans come out and wear the wigs, and that really reminds me of all those crazy mardi gras fans."

Kayte Christensen, Phoenix Mercury
"You know in Phoenix we had a really good fanbase of people that have been there since the very first year, and this is my firth season there, so they feel very much like a part of my life and I feel like I've been a part of their life as well. It's interesting to me that I can be in any city and see fans there that I recognize their faces and know their names, so I think that's probably an interesting fan thing.

Asjha Jones, Connecticut Sun
"Everybody is so different and they enjoy the game so much, so there's a lot of fans that travel around, with their wigs, some random pictures where they take a picture with your family, and you're like I didn't even know you knew that was my family, so in Connecticut you get some interesting mixes."

Ticha Penicheiro, Sacramento Monarchs
"No, not really. I think our league is know as being fan friendly, and known for having great interaction with the fans, and I think it's important that we continue to do that."

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
"Do you know someone named Precious? He is very dear to UConn and to their fans. So I would say just knowing Precious."

Tina Thompson, Houston Comets
"Being in Houston in our tenth season, I'm very familiar with a lot of our fans we have great fan support and they've been very consistent over the years to the extent that I've seen their children grow up. There's a little girl her name is Rifka, and she is about nine or ten now and she was a baby when the WNBA started. Her mother and grandmother have been season ticket holders the entire time, so I've literally seen her grow up. It's amazing seeing her now, she's always been a big fan and she was so nervous because she had so much admiration for the Comets, and she wouldn't even talk to me because she was so nervous. But her parents would tell me stories where she would play with her dolls and she would name them after Comets. It's gotten to a point where now we conversate and I ask her about school. It's kind of crazy because not too often do you get relationships like that, but I think it's the personality of the WNBA and that we're so fan friendly and so approachable that you can have relationships like that."

Tamika Whitmore, Indiana Fever
"I've actually had one fan that has been a fan since I came into the league in '99, her name is Nicole, and she has a basketball with a 44 tatooed in it and I changed my number to 91 this year, so now she has a tattoo of a WNBA basketball with 91 in it, but she's always been there, and I just acknowledge her and appreciate the fact that she is such a fan."

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
"It's really just where they ask you to sign stuff. I had to sign some guys bald head one time. Little kids will ask you to sign their arms, that kind of stuff."

Michelle Snow, Houston Comets
"Quite a few, I had one guy tell me he was going to have the kid and I could make the money, haha. I don't know about you but I thought that was pretty far fetched."

Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars
"Not yet, but I'm sure I will soon."

*All photos: NBAE/Getty Images

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