After a whirlwind week that awarded Cappie Pondexter a starting spot on the 2011 Eastern Conference All-Star Team and the win, a WNBA Top 15 Most Influential Players nod, and a victory at home to start the 2nd half of the season, I got to chat with the NY Liberty captain, who continues to prove she her talents and abilities stretch far beyond the basketball court.
TP: Cappie, great win for the East in this year's All-Star game! It was your 4th trip to the mid-summer classic. How would you rate your this year's appearance?
CP: The good thing is we won, which is always a plus in my eye. From year to year, it's pretty much all the same. You get to be around a lot of great players. It never gets olds. It's always an honor.
TP: You went out there with NY Liberty teammate, Essence Carson, who is having a breakout season. What has most impressed you about E?
CP: Her all around attitude to get better. She wants to be a go-to player. And she's worked hard. We have a lot of weapons, and she is definitely one of them.
TP: Were you or your EC teammates upset that the MVP was from the Western Conference team?
CP: We really didn't care. We said, 'They got the trophy, but we got the win.'
TP: That was only the the third time that the Eastern Conference has won an All-Star game, now with a 3-7 record.
CP: Yeah, we're trying to close the gap and represent.
TP: You gonna be around to even the score?
CP: (Chuckling) I hope so! I hope to be around for a while.
TP: What was your favorite part of the AS weekend in San Antonio?
CP: When went to the to Intrepid Center...had the most fantastic times with the victims, some who lost limps, burn victims...all just trying to get better. We experienced the workout they do, which was grueling. They work out about 3-4 times a day doing cardio, core work, medicine ball. Something athletes definitely can relate to. It's fun watching them. They showed such great strength, it was inspiring.
TP: You were named to the WNBA's Top 15 Most Influential Players along with some big names, the likes of T-Spoon, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Becky Hammon. To be a part of that company, what does it mean to you?
CP: It means a great deal to be a part of such greatness. To only be in the league six years and get such recognition, it was a great accomplishment.
TP: What do you think it is about your game that landed you on the esteemed list?
CP: It's my willingness to attack in the open court. My game is definitely unique. I credit that to playing in Chicago against the guys. It forced me to play that way and be competitive, and I was.
TP: I know that you and T-Spoon have a special re'shp. What do she say to you on the accomplishment?
CP: She told me she was proud of me. You know, she is NY Liberty Basketball. She put them on the map, and I'm trying to do the same now. I try to bring that energy and enthusiasm she had every day.
TP: How did your family react of the news?
CP: You know, I'm so laid-back and nonchalant. It's such a whirlwind, going from game to game. I say, 'oh yeah that's cool.' I don't mean to take it for granted, but everything can get hectic, but I know that my family is happy for me and proud. So I let the fam talk amongst themselves about it.
TP: Your grandmother was here a couple weeks ago and now your mom is in town, how nice is it for you to have them around?
CP: It's great stuff. I really enjoy the time we get together.
TP: The 2nd half of the season is underway, the Libs are 10-7 and 8-3 over the last 11. What is the focus right now for the team?
CP: To Win! We just taking one game at a time, one practice at a time. Not looking ahead or behind, focusing on staying in the moment.
TP: How feasible is a championship run this season? What are the biggest hurdles?
CP: We have to keep challenging ourselves. This month, it's a hard fought race. We just need to maintain and stay in the top 4. Then once the playoffs come, it's a whole different game.
14TP: The Libs are 5-1 going up against Western Conference teams. You have Phoenix up next. What is the key against your former team?
CP: Stopping their transition game...they just want to go-go-go. Our defense need to make them work in half court. We have to limit their possessions and force them to take tough shots. And we want to win on our home court.
TP: You won two WNBA championships in Phoenix. Now in your second year in NY, what is it like for you going up against the Mercury?
CP: I'd be lying if it wasn't a game I thought about when the schedules come out. I'm very excited to see my old teammates and coaching staff. It's fun...but you know, it ended on a little bit of a sour note, so I'll be fired up, and definitely want to win. It's going to be a competitive game.
TP: Right now in the league, what team do you think is playing the best basketball and why?
CP: Connecticut. They are very strong and very consistent with what they do. They know their game plan and what they are good at. And they are playing well all across the league. They're solid, just a terrific team.
TP: When you're not busy on the court, we know you are busy with your company 4season Style Management? For those don't know, what is it all about?
CP: It's an image development company. We help develop brands- how to create and protect, helping client's do the right things. Also do website designs, logo, wardrobe, styling. It's great. Our one-year anniversary party is on August 26th. My translator is coming over to help out, and we have four interns.
TP: What do you think is the most important thing when trying to develop a 'personal brand'?
CP: You have to know the importance of it. Going from Rutgers to the pros, I didn't understand how important my 'brand' was. My business partner, Lisa Smith Craig,has been a celeb stylist for a very long time and we came together to develop this company. It's true to heart. Lots of athletes, girls and guys need help. I know that from my own experience.
TP: Where did your love of fashion develop?
CP: As a kid, I always wanted the best swimsuit or sneakers. As I got older, started working and making my own money, I started to buy better things, and developed more of a fashion sense...especially over the last number of years.
TP: How much fun is it for you to be in New York City now - the fashion capital?
CP: It's a perfect scenario when you think about...nowhere else, outside of LA, could you accomplish so much.
TP: Who is your favorite designer?
CP: Alexander Wang or Helmut Lang. I love their flair, attitude, materials, cuts, everything I'm into. I love that they have an edgy side and a classy side. (You check can out her new favorite blazer on her Twitter page - @cappa23)
TP: Did you pick up any fashion trends while playing over in Russia?
CP: Well they definitely have a flare for the dramatic. Fashion there is over-the-top, edgy, glittery glamour times 10! They have some great up and coming designers.
TP: Any plans to develop your own line one day?
CP: Yes, I would love to develop my own line one day. When I'm not playing year round, I definitely want to go to fashion school. I want to learn about different clothes, how to sew, make clothes and do my own designs.
Catch CP23 and the Libs when they take on the Mercury on Saturday, July 30 at 7:00pm at Prudential Center or on MSG Plus.