NEW YORK – Thirty-six women realized their dream of becoming professional basketball players on Thursday night in the WNBA draft, and for those who attended the ceremony in New York, they instantly cemented their place in a brotherhood of basketball.
The league invited 10 players to attend the draft in person, and also spent the days leading up to the final together. From eating to finding out what to wear, the group joined in immediately, and even started a cheerful group text message.
"Over the past two days, we've spent a lot of time together," said Lexie Brown. , which was selected ninth overall by the Connecticut Sun. "We started a really fun group chat and we're going to keep it running all season long, we have a lot of memes.
" Dinner [Wednesday] took a really a long time, and we jokingly started asking, "OK, who will go first?" These last few days have been amazing, and I really could not have picked a better group of girls to share this experience. "
While the pre-draft hours were probably full of nerves and anxiety, the players never showed it as they entered the game. Nike Headquarters, which hosted the event, seemed more like a party than any other, laughing, dancing, cheering, sharing jokes and, of course, posing for selfies, despite the ferocity on the field, rivalries and stories among many. of the women, it seemed to be nothing more than love and support on the orange carpet.
"I think when you get here and you have the couple of days, you really have the chance to meet everyone," said Kia Nurse, whom the New York Liberty chosen in n. 10. "It's not just the players on your sco writing report anymore, they're real people who are really fun with great personalities, it's been amazing."
Several of the players confessed to be nervous before they arrived in New York, with the typical concerns that many have before starting a new job: Will people be nice? Will I make friends? Who will do it? I speak with
Monique Billings, who finally fell in the Atlanta Dream in the second round, knew that she would have the support of her UCLA partner Jordin Canada in New York, but was eager to spend so much time with women who did not I knew Those feelings disappeared quickly.
"I did not know what to expect because they were such important names," Billings said after being selected. "But they were all great, very humble and on earth, we just joined together at a really good level, at the girl level."
"It was so nice to have girls with whom to talk and talk about basketball, but also with clothes, shoes and hair It was great. Everyone was simply congratulating each other and building each other. "
That sentiment seemed to be true whenever WNBA president Lisa Borders called someone's name, and for each woman chosen, those who had not yet been selected were among the first to applaud and animate out loud During the photo sessions after the draft and interviews with the media, they rushed to hug and congratulate each other. Their admiration was visible, and everyone had kind words to say each time they were asked about another player.
Even after the televised part of the event ended, groups of players were still mixing and apparently introducing themselves to their families. It was clear that nobody wanted the night to end, nor their time together.
While Victoria Vivians, who was eighth in Indiana Fever, jokingly said she would never reveal any of the contents of the group's text ("It's private!"), She became serious when she talked about her new friends.
"Knowing each other off the court is great," he said. "We are all very comfortable together, it is a brotherhood."
"We will all support each other from now on, we are all professionals now. I feel that we are going to be connected throughout the season and beyond. I can not wait to see what the future holds for everyone "