Marion Jones - of who many start their sentences with former track star, former disgraced Olympian or even WNBA gimmick is looking to melt away some of the preconceived stereotypes and notions, replacing them with WNBA basketball player or perhaps even with M Jeezy. The last Tulsa Shock game should do some good in erasing the former foibles and etching the latter platitudes as her descriptor.
She had a career-high eight points, three rebounds, an assist and two big blocks in her 14 minutes Friday's game against the New York Liberty. These numbers eclipse her previous season-highs of four points, two rebounds and 10 minutes of playing time.
And the blocks. Wow. Against Liberty players measuring in well above six feet, the 5'10" guard leapt for the denials. After the game, Jones was nursing what is sure to have become a black eye after getting jacked in the nose during her aggressive play.
"I think that's what coach is looking for, somebody to kind of bring energy to the team and even if I don't get a lot of minutes what I try and bring is whenever I am in there I just bring the energy and whatever that equates to - whether that's a trap that you don't even see on the stat sheet or a block here and there or a rebound," said Jones. "Whatever it takes to just kind of get us going."
According to teammate Jennifer Lacy, the does more behind the scenes to encourage and contribute to her team, providing a positivity that can be rare when battling a string of defeats.
"Marion - wow. You know, she is - she just brings so much energy, so much positivity, so much encouragement and whether she plays 30 seconds or 30 minutes she's going to be the same person all the time," said Lacy. "She's gonna uplift people around her, she's gonna get down and play defense, she's gonna make those hustle plays. She's just that type of person; off the court so giving and she's so giving on the court. She gives 100% of herself."
Jones has been dealing with naysayers since her signing to the team was announced in preseason, but Lacy and others have respect in what Jones brings to the hardwood.
"I'm really proud and I'm very happy to call her my teammate," said Lacy. "We had a joke this morning in shoot around, she ate her Wheaties. She's slapping the backboard on her layups, we're talking about M Jeezy - that's her alter ego."
"Which is so not me," Jones interjects from the adjacent locker.
"Which is so not her but that's who's slapping the backboard, that's who's blocking the shots, getting those steals," Lacy agrees. "I'm happy to have her on my team, I'm excited and it's always an honor to have a player like her who's going give 100% of themselves every time on your team."
M Jeezy and company will have to dig deep, perhaps even past the 100 percent mark tonight as they face stiff opposition in the visiting Seattle Storm. But no matter what the end result may be, I know one who will be cheering from the sidelines, working hard from the floor and trying to will her team to an elusive W - one Marion Jones, Tulsa Shock guard - her more than appropriate moniker in my book.