I've played in six WNBA All-Star games, and this one was by far by the best that I've played in (besides my first one). The first reason is because I played in Phoenix; they were the team that drafted me and I won two championships there...so I was going there on a positive note. The second reason was the atmosphere. The atmosphere was amazing, and I thought Phoenix did a great job of hosting.
A lot of the fans were saying that they miss me. It was good to hear that they were more sad that I left rather than screaming and yelling at me.
It was fun to go back there. I went to one of my favorite restaurants Fez. I took my family with me and we ate there (I love their salads, they are awesome!). I also participated in the WNBA Cares event, which is always great, and I love doing that during All-Star. This year, we were raising awareness for health and fitness, so we exercised with the kids and ran around with them. I saw a lot of the beat writers that I used to talk to and even saw a writer who wrote a book about the Mercury's 2009 Championship run. He gave me a copy of the book, and I actually had a passage in it, which was kind of cool.
I didn't have a lot of personal time because we were so busy with media, running around, practices, stuff like that. It's definitely an honor to be part of All-Star Weekend, especially in my case because the fans voted me there, so I never take that granted. But you have to be relaxed while you're there. Obviously we don't really have a break because in addition to basketball we are doing community relations and talking to the media. But the fact that you are around so many other great players, and get to learn about them off the court, I always take advantage of that.
For example, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about Shoni Schimmel. I think it was great for her that the game was in Phoenix because there are a lot of Native Americans there. And she has eight brothers and sisters that were there (I think her whole family was there if I'm not mistaken). It was cool really getting to know her. I'm sure a lot of people questioned how she was voted in, but I think she did a great job of proving why she belonged there. It was an awesome story.
The Western Conference had so many more well-known players, like Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird...and everybody thought they were going to kill the East. But we came out and played great basketball, competed really hard and made the game so interesting. I think that was the best All-Star Game that I've ever been a part of.
And I think the fans would agree. When the game finished, everybody was saying how it was the best game, that it was unbelievable, so intense, and so fun watching both teams get after it. It was cool to be a part of that for sure.
And to my fans: stay tuned as the New York Liberty fight to make a playoff push!