In 2009, Alex Chambers decided to take a WNBA road trip. 13 of them, in fact – all part of one goal for the Phoenix Mercury fan to visit every arena in the league. Two years later, Chambers has chronicled the trip in a book, 13 Teams: One Man’s Journey with the WNBA.
Each stop along the way, including a July 2009 visit to Seattle to see the Storm face the Sacramento Monarchs, is described in complete detail. While at KeyArena, Chambers was interviewed by Shellie Hart on StormVision during the game and had the chance to chat with Storm stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson in the locker room. Here’s what he wrote about interviewing Bird:
I began the interview by noting her well-known friendship with Diana Taurasi. When she smiled several times as she talked about her and Dee joke on and off the court I relaxed a bit, even though I felt like I was trying to interview her in a nightclub. Still, even with the game just moments away, Sue was relaxed and poised, smiling and laughing through a very brief interview. The most surprising fact I learned was that Sue played a variety of sports in high school, but it was no surprise when she told me that basketball was her favorite.
At the end of the interview, I pull out my Olympic tshirt and ask Sue to pen her name to the growing number of autographs that adorn it. Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans nudges me and quips, “You know you’re not supposed to get autographs.”
Jayda was really just giving me a hard time, but she did have a point. Technically, media are not permitted to get autographs when they were working. It’s a good thing I’m not technically media.
Chambers’ behind-the-scenes access provides a fun look at personalities throughout the WNBA. Jackson gave him a hard time before happily providing an interview, and he interacted with the rest of the league’s stars while becoming a bit of a celebrity in his own right. (As mentioned in the Storm chapter, I interviewed Chambers before the Storm game he attended.) All of that is covered in 13 Teams, as is the larger purpose of his trip, which was dedicated to friend Cyndee, who passed away in the spring of 2008 after a battle with breast cancer.
13 Teams: One Man’s Journey with the WNBA is available now at Amazon.com.