Tangela Smith Meets Her Idol

Tangela Smith and David Robinson pose for a photo during media availability at the NBA All-Star Game.
Photo courtesy of Tangela Smith

By Brian Martin, WNBA.com

PHOENIX, Feb. 13, 2009 - Her smile was as wide as could be and as she spoke about meeting her favorite player for the first time, you could hear the joy in her voice.

It is not often that you see a professional athlete star struck, but that is exactly what happened to Tangela Smith when she met David Robinson for the first time today during media availability at the NBA All-Star Game.

�It was so awesome because I�ve always wanted to meet him,� she said. �He�s always been my favorite player. I got the number 50 because of him. I grew up watching him, so it was just a great experience for me.�

She paused for a second before blurting out, �And he knew my name, oh my God!�

For Smith, a 6-4 center for the Phoenix Mercury, Robinson was the type of player she wanted to be and he had the type of game that she wanted to emulate as a fellow post player.

�I really like his style of play,� Smith said. �I liked his whole game; he had the inside game, he had a nice little shot, he played great defense and he blocked a lot of shots. I really loved his game. And he�s a great person.�

When the moment came to meet her idol, Smith had to fight to control her excitement. She may have been jumping up and down on the inside, but on the outside she tried to keep her cool as best as she could.

�She was real sweet,� Robinson said after the meeting. �You never know the impact that you�re going to have on people, but that�s kind of neat to be a positive impact on somebody�s life.

�It�s a real blessing. She was so sweet and she came up and she wanted a picture and that made my whole day.�

For Smith, she could have gone home before any of the All-Star festivities got underway this weekend and this would go down as the best All-Star Game ever.

�I am so happy right now,� she said. �It made my whole weekend, my whole week, my whole � everything.

�I�m done. I don�t need anything else right now. Maybe I need to make a few shots tomorrow, but then I�m done.�

In an ironic twist, the day after Smith meets her idol, she will be competing against him in the Haier Shooting Stars Competition during All-Star Saturday Night.

Smith is part of the Phoenix squad with Suns guard Leandro Barbosa and Suns legend Dan Majerle. Robinson is part of the defending champion San Antonio team with Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon.

Take a close look at Smith during the competition on Saturday. She may still be glowing from the first meeting with the Admiral.