Double G Sports continues it’s celebration of women in sports with someone that has plenty of local recognition. Not only did Cappie Pondexter play her college ball at Rutgers University but she now plays in the WNBA for the New York Liberty. Cappie has been one of the best guards in the league the past couple years and she was kind enough to participate in this project and answer a few questions.
Where did you learn and who taught you how to play the game of basketball?
I learned to play the game of basketball in a lot of Chicago playgrounds and gyms. No one in particular taught me to play but my brother had me around when he played basketball and I kind of picked it up from there.
Who were some of your basketball influences growing up?
I mean, growing up in Chicago I think every basketball player in the 90′s was influenced by MJ (Michael Jordan). He was our Chicago hero and someone we truly looked up to. Another person would be Cynthia Cooper.
Was basketball and playing organized basketball something that was always available to you?
Yes, Chicago is a big city and basketball has heavy influence on most young kids growing up in urban communities.
How hard was it gaining respect on and off the court as a female basketball player?
At first it was hard because it was uncommon for a female to play with guys. As I got better with the game I gained more and more respect and now I can go anywhere and I’m one of the first to be picked up for a game!
Did you ever dream about playing professional basketball when you were growing up?
I’ve always dreamed of playing professional basketball. Even before the WNBA began I wanted to play in the NBA and didn’t care if it was for men. I just wanted to be a part of it and play professionally.
You’re a dynamic talent. Did you ever compete against male basketball players? If yes, how did you fare?
Since I was a young kid I’ve always admired playing with guys. They were always so competitive and had so much speed and athletic ability that you didn’t see with many girls. Over the years I’ve gotten better and better playing with guys mainly due to my confidence level and competitive drive to win and be the best.
What were your reactions when the WNBA first formed?
I was so excited and ambitious that I got the WNBA logo tattooed on me at the age of 18 when it first formed!
Describe what the WNBA, it’s existence, the competition, and the bonds made while playing means to you.
The WNBA gives young girls hope and dreams to aim at the highest level of basketball. The competition has risen like no other and because of that it’s ratings continue to grow. I’ve met so many cool people through this game, not just in the WNBA but playing a sport in general. It’s so universal and because of that you get to travel and meet people of all walks of life.
Who is the toughest opponent you faced while at Rutgers? And now while playing in the WNBA?
The toughest would probably be UCONN and Tennessee. The toughest individual opponent would be Tameka Catchings and Diana Taurasi.
You played for Coach Stringer in college. What were some of the most important lessons that she taught you?
The biggest life lessons she taught me was probably to always stand tall in both good and bad situations in life. Basketball wise she taught me how to not just play the game, but think it. To play it slow in your mind and it will become so much easier to play and see things others won’t.
You played against Coach Pat Summit’s teams. What do she and Coach Stringer mean to you?
They mean the world to me, because they chose to give back by teaching the game to young women who want to play professionally. They are helping dreams come true and nothing is more special than that.
What one accomplishment/event are you most proud of in your basketball career, at any level?
The would definitely be my gold medal from Beijing. (2008 Olympic Games)
What do you do to fulfill your role as idol/mentor to so many young and aspiring female basketball players?
I just continue to be successful by fulfilling my dreams and give back to others.
Is being a role model something you embrace? Why?
Yes, to the fullest! I’ve been given a special opportunity and I understand the importance of making it count and not taking advantage of this role. I want to help others reach their dreams as many have done for me.
Other than basketball, tell us a little bit about what else you are working on.
I’ve started an image consulting company with Lisa Smith-Craig based out of New York. We help develop images and understand the importance of branding through your image. This can consist of website vamping, personal shopping, photo shoots, etc. You can find us at www.4seasonstylemanagement.com. Secondly, I’ve been doing a great deal of work for various foundations.
What would you tell someone who has never watched a WNBA game in order to get them to come out to the arena?
If you want to see beautiful women play the game gracefully, full of energy, and give great heart every second then there is no better show than the WNBA. Plus, I’m one of the best so you have to come check me out!