The Gospel Herald recently caught up with WNBA players Essence Carson, Candice Wiggins, Tamika Catchings, and Briann January about their Christian faith and how their team prospects would play out during the season.
In video interviews conducted and compiled by Gospel Herald reporter Nycea Patterson, two members each from the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever talked about their performance on the field and how they lived out their Christian faith. Patterson first asked Carson about she has elevated as a basketball player.
"Things like that, they just motivate, and they also just inspire me," Carson said. "They let me know that a lot of youth are looking up to me, and I got to go out there and do this for them."
Patterson observed that Carson was a big music fan. She asked the Liberty guard what type of music she listens to before playing a game on the court.
"It kind of just varies," Carson quipped. "I put on [music streaming service] Pandora and choose a station. One day, it might be 90s hip-hop or 90s R&B. Another day, it might be today's hip-hop or pop music."
Carson added that her musical tastes vary "depend on what mood I'm in."
"It can be real old-school," Carson said. "You could take me back to The Temptations, the O'Jays. My moods kind of vary. I believe that music speaks to the soul and it evokes emotion, so however I'm feeling at the moment, I just kind of listen to that artist."
According to the Associated Press, New York won over Indiana 86-79 last week. Based on the results of that game, Patterson asked Carson on what contributed to her performance in that game; Carson scored 14 points according to the Associated Press.
"Just being ready to shoot the ball," Carson quipped. "I was open [on the court] quite a bit. [I'm] just being ready to knock down the shot. If that's not there, then [I] attack the basket."
For the second interview, Patterson turned the focus on Candice Wiggins. The Liberty guard suffered a sports injury on her leg after the game against Indiana.
"I've battled a lot of injuries in my career," Wiggins said, later requesting the camera not capture the appearance of her toes. "I've had a total of eight surgeries actually, so I've battled a lot."
Wiggins added that "getting her body prepared" for basketball was "a miracle." She then turned the focus on her Christian faith.
"It's really taught me to rely fully on God," Wiggins said. "Every game, I'm just like, 'OK, God, I don't how I'm going to get through it, but you're going to get me through it.' It's such a blessing to play, and I know that, but I have to do my part."
Patterson pointed out that Wiggins placed special emphasis on HIV and AIDS awareness. That's because her father, Alan Wiggins, died from AIDS when she was a child.
"For me, it's really just fighting the stigma [associated with HIV and AIDS]," Wiggins said. "I have a lot of patience in this because it's taken a lifetime to see the change in attitudes toward something like HIV and AIDS."
Wiggins added that things "nobody wants to talk about" such as "sex, drugs, [and] all those kinds of things" have to be confronted if any impact can be made in the fight against the spread of HIV.
"It's sad that probably the thing that we need to communicate and talk about the most that's so personal is the things that we shy away from," Wiggins said. "For me, the next step is figuring out what more I can do. I really want to reach the souls of people, building empathy, melting the hardness of people, the judgment, [and] the fear, all of those things that come from the realm of darkness. That's when the fight will be over."
Patterson then interviewed Catchings. She asked the Indiana forward on what she wanted to do in order to progress as a player.
"For me, it's more for my team," Catchings said. "This is my first game back, and I'm trying to get back with the flow of my team. As a player, [I] just continue to encourage my teammates in leading them. I think before long, they'll take care of themselves."
Catchings added that her view on playing basketball has changed somewhat.
"Early on in my career, it was all about winning and losing," Catchings said. "Now it's more about, 'OK, what can I do to help my teammates get better for the next game.'"
Patterson then asked Catchings, who comes from a family of basketball players, what kind of legacy she wanted to leave.
"I think for me, [it's] just the way that I play, the passion that I have," Catchings said. "I love playing basketball. Every single day I thank God for the opportunity to wake up like this is my job. I go to the gym for four to five hours every day, I hang out with my family, [and] I don't ever look at it as a job."
In her final interview, Patterson asked January of the highlights surrounding her performance in the game.
"We outscored them three out of the four quarters today," January said. "That's making progress for us, being able to be aggressive and be the aggressor in the game. But we need to put four quarters together to win the game and cut back on the small mental mistakes that we made."
Patterson finally asked January, a guard on the Fever, on her work in the community of Indianapolis, particularly in the field of youth employment.
"Our community, especially in Indianapolis, supports us so much," January said. "We have some of the best fans, some of the best supporters within our community. Whatever we can do to give back to help them and support them is a priority for everybody on our team.
January added that her team looks "for opportunities to go out and give back to our community."
"They support us and they give us so much," January said.