Tamera Young: On Her Grind

staff writer
March 7, 2012 - 2:25pm

NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 30: Tamera Young #1 of the Chicago Sky drives against Cappie Pondexter #23 of the New York Liberty during a game on August 30, 2011 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.   (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 30: Tamera Young #1 of the Chicago Sky drives against Cappie Pondexter #23 of the New York Liberty during a game on August 30, 2011 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Q&A with the Sky’s defensive stopper

“Tamera's consistent effort, especially on the defensive end of the floor, was quite impressive throughout the season. Her energy is infectious, and was key in her averaging nearly 8ppg. She brings a blue collar mentality that doesn't always show up on a stat sheet, but is instrumental in a team's success."

Those were the words of Chicago Sky head coach, Pokey Chatman, when the team announced it was re-signing Tamera Young for the upcoming 2012 campaign. Take a minute to look at the verbiage Chatman uses while describing Young: consistent, effort, impressive, infectious, and instrumental – is there any better way to characterize the veteran forward?

We caught up with Young recently (she is still overseas playing in Israel) for an exclusive, fun Q&A with the Sky’s defensive stopper.

Ben York (BY): First of all, how is your “off-season” going? I use that term loosely…

Tamera Young (TY): (laughs) My offseason is going well. First, I was in Turkey playing for Istanbul University and I left there after the Christmas break and joined Maccabi Ashdod in Israel. We are currently still in first place and are fighting to win the Israeli Cup and League Championship. The weather here is nice and the food is great; very Americanized and makes me feel closer to home than any other country I have played in. 

BY: You recently signed with the Sky for the season (congrats!). What are your thoughts on the team? With the new additions of Swin Cash, Lecoe Willingham, and Ticha Penicheiro it has to be exciting.

TY: When thinking of our team and my teammates I can only get excited. I have, literally, been having dreams of playing this summer. With the roster we have, I believe this is going to be the best year yet for the Chicago Sky. Obviously, we will only be able to tell after we get on the court. But the addition of championship-winning veterans is phenomenal. They are all talented, experienced players with great knowledge of the game and I believe they will all be huge assets to our team.

BY: Any funny stories from across the pond?

TY: (laughs) One story I think is funny is the fact all my American teammates call me “Boo” like it’s my nickname. Now, my coach started calling me that after hearing my teammates. So, while we are in the game if I do something wrong or he wants me to do something he will shout out, “Boo!” and it’s just so funny and weird at the same time – having my coach call me “Boo.” Well, I guess it is my nickname now! 

BY: You and I have talked extensively about our tattoos. You also have some of the best artwork in the WNBA. Do you have a favorite, and if so, why?

TY: I have become addicted to tattoos. So many people question me and wonder why I choose to mark up my body. To me, I don’t see it that way; it’s just the way I express myself. Each of my tattoos has meaning so it’s not just a marking to me; it goes beyond that. It is a part of me, from important chapters in my life. I love them. I have so many that it is hard to pick a favorite. As far as the design itself, I love my arm-sleeve. The one with the most meaning is my parents name on my leg with a rose and the Bible verse Exodus 20:12 which states, “Honor your mother and your father and our days shall be long, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

Photo Gallery of Tamera's Tattoos

BY: Love that. What's one part of your game you want to improve?

TY: One part of my game I want to improve is shooting the three. Even now, people seem to be shocked when I hit a three-pointer like it’s the hardest thing to do. It's not that I can't; I just rather take my man off the dribble. I like the challenge better of getting by my man rather than just standing pretty, shooting a three-pointer (laughs). In all seriousness, I want to become more consistent with my range to have an all-around game. 

BY: Time for some questions on your teammates. I’ll try not to get you in trouble. Who's the funniest?

TY: My funniest teammate would have to be Piph [Epiphanny Prince]. She is so silly and always doing little pranks to people. You have to watch out for Piphy or she will get you.

BY: Worst choice in music:

TY: Shay [Murphy] has to be my teammate with the worst choice in music. Shay comes to practice singing songs that I have never heard of. I'm like, “Shay what song is that?” And she replies in her Cali voice, "Girl, that is Jason Greer. You never heard of him? OMG, come on, T! You have to listen!” (laughs) Gotta love her.

BY: Person who sleeps the most on the plane:

TY: The person who sleeps the most on the plane is Sloot [Courtney Vandersloot]. We will still be at the gate and Sloot will be knocked out in a little ball with her mouth wide open.

BY: Best dancer:

TY: The best dancer…hmm…I have no idea. Well, I guess it depends on what dance because if we are doing “The Dougie” there is no competition for me! (laughs) With our new additions, I believe the best dancer would be Lecoe [Willingham].

BY: Takes the longest to get ready:

TY: Last year, the person who took the longest to get ready was always me and Piph. We were forever the last ones out of the locker room getting dressed. 

BY: Here are some random questions: Most embarrassing song on your iPod?

TY: The most embarrassing song on my iPod is Fantasia’s “Baby Mama.”

BY: Favorite movie you've seen in the last six months:

TY: Probably Colombiana with Zoe Saldana.

BY: Album you're most looking forward to in 2012:

TY: Definitely the new one from Alicia Keys.  

BY: Off-court goal for the year:

TY: My off-court goal for the year is to be better each day than I was the day before – in every aspect of life.