I know when you first hear this title you think of the popular TV show. But I’m talking about the “dance” (season) I was blessed to be able to experience this season with the San Antonio Silver Stars. By far one of the best organizations in professional sports. Enough cannot be said about the amount of character and high values that represents the team and personnel within the organization.
It’s funny how a season can really be like a dance. You start by meeting your partner(s) and then finding ways to move together to the same rhythm. Those that find it the best tend to be the better teams. While some win by just being more talented than others. Although we were very talented, I like to think that we did have a better rhythm amongst each other than the other teams. Which lead to us achieving more than expected. We all know that San Antonio teams in general are always overlooked; especially in the media. From the Stars to the Spurs. But that was very much the case this year. One of the major broadcast channels surveyed all the GM’s in the WNBA in the beginning of the year. They asked them which teams they thought would get into the playoffs. Only one GM voted for San Antonio and you can guess who that was. ESPN projected the Stars to be in last place of the conference.
And yet, the team with great resilience and heart lead the conference for the first 8 games of the season. Was able to win their last 6 out of 7 in the regular season after losing 6 straight. The persistence within each players and member of the staff was unfathomable. Not to include the fact that this was also done with 3 rookies on the roster. Something this is unheard of the in league. These same 3 rookies also turned out to be large contributors to the team. Sometimes taking the weight on their shoulders to produce for the team and carry us to victory.
Credit needs to be given in so many other places but this would take hours to write. However, I wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention the incredible leadership of both Becky Hammon and Sophia Young. What an experience to be able to witness Becky be nominated an All-Star in her own city, reach her 5,000th career point and be selected as one of the Top 15 WNBA Players of All Time. Her story of overcoming adversity should be heard by every young female athlete in any sport.
Sophia brought her consistent determination to the team that was enjoyable to watch. Day in and day out her ability to make her team mates better showed her capabilities.
Jia Perkins is another play that must be mentioned in this. Her immediate impact to the team was a big part of the team’s early and whole success throughout the season. Never have I met someone with such a passion to develop themselves for the sake of bringing more to team. Even after having multiple 20 point games (24 in Game 2 of playoffs vs. Minnesota) and even 31 against LA she remained humble and focused in her pursuit for achievement.
Pat Riley once said, “A team is only is as good as it’s leadership.” Dan Hughes is one of the greatest leaders/coaches I have ever had the experience to work with. His attention to details, compassion for all he leads, and ability to orchestrate success in unmatched. The lessons I was able to learn from such a great man as Dan will stay with me for years. Especially his ability to surround himself around great people. Both Vicki Johnson and Steve Shuman deserve alot of credit in getting the team ready to compete every night. It was definitely a blessing to work with both of them as well.
As much as it hurts to say that the season is over; I know I must look to the blessing of what it was more than anything. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that will be remembered. It is now my job to pay it forward and teach all of the lessons learned from this season and teach the next generation how to “dance” like the Stars.