The way that I see it, there are two types of interviews that can be conducted on a radio show.
There is the standard, more common, discussion of the player, the team, and what is going on around both. Then there is the in depth discussion that looks at more than just the player, but the person. Both have their places, and both can make for outstanding and compelling listening. I was fortunate to have both kinds on Dishin' & Swishin' this week.
Temeka Johnson of the Phoenix Mercury and Jia Perkins of the Chicago Sky are both outstanding players. Both are integral parts of any success that their respective teams will have this year. And both have great stories behind their success.
Jia and I had a very nice conversation, discussing the Sky and the fact that she is the only remaining original Sky player. We discussed playing for different coaches and the need for stability in the franchise, and the trade that brought Shemeka Christon and Katherine Kraayeveld from New York.
Occasionally though, even in this type of interview, you get to see the personality of the player, and Jia was no exception. She laughed at being called the old lady of the team, and was honest in discussing a potential return to the Point Guard slot, as she played a couple of years ago for the Sky.
Interview with Temeka Johnson
I was able to arrange an interview with Temeka Johnson with the permission of the Phoenix Mercury and through the interest of Quency Phillips, and Meek's management team, Fuzion Marketing Group. The result was an incredibly in depth discussion with one of the most diverse personalities in the WNBA today.
We talked for almost an hour, and covered not just the Mercury, winning the championship and the Cappie trade, but also playing at LSU with Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus and Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles and her home of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We talked about each of her WNBA stops, and we talked about the flirtation with other teams this past off-season. Perhaps most importantly, we talked about Meek's HOPE, one of the widest reaching foundations organized and involving a WNBA player. I truly enjoyed my time talking with Meek, and I feel this was truly one of best shows I've put out to date.
Enjoy some of the snippets!
In the realm of "What if"....Draft Day 2005...could it have changed the fortune of a franchise?
While completing her exit interview from her Rookie of the Year season in Washington, Meek saw the television, and what was going on in her home state of Louisiana, and the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina.
After that Rookie of the Year season, Washington decided to go for more size in the backcourt though, and traded Meek to the LA Sparks for Nikki Teasley. It was a trade that didn't work out especially well for either team.
If there was a bright spot to the time in LA, it was playing with Lisa Leslie, a player and person for whom Meek shows incredible respect. The way Leslie accepted and encouraged Meek, the player has helped groom Meek the person as well.
Playing in Europe during the WNBA off-season is, fortunately or unfortunately, a way of life for the majority of the players in the WNBA. It takes an incredible toll on them, physically and mentally, and can be either a very positive or negative experience to the person. Aside from the differences in the game, the language and financial issues, your attitude and you handle the surroundings is key. Meek is not shy about enjoying all that is around her.
Despite winning last year's WNBA championship, the Mercury were in a tough spot this winter. The salary cap reduction that was put in place made it virtually impossible for the team to re-sign all the free agents on their roster. Cappie Pondexter was traded to New York, Le'coe Willingham signed with Seattle, but that still left the unsettled issue of contracts for Meek and Penny Taylor, two crucial stars that needed to remain in place. Phoenix finally signed both, but not until Meek stared at the business end of the WNBA, and signed an offer sheet elsewhere.
Finally, Temeka Johnson is most definitely a giving soul. She has created an organization called Meek's HOPE, (http://www.meekshope.org/) that has created lasting memories and impressions all over the world. The organization seeks to touch the lives of children, via Teacher scholarships and Adopt a school programs, as well as so many other ways. You can hear in her voice, the feelings Meek has for her work with the organization.
Two people, two interviews, two personable women, each reaching for their goals. Each great in their own way. Wishing them both the best of luck for a fun WNBA season, and yes, Meek and Jia, from both of you, we Expect Great!
TO HEAR THE ENTIRE INTERVIEWS, AND OTHERS HELD ON THE DISHIN' & SWISHIN' SHOW, GO TO: http://www.wstrradio.com/dishn-n-swishn.htm