Just because she missed out on the 2012 WNBA season with an injury doesn't mean former Minnesota Lynx Kristen Mann hasn't stayed busy. Between revealing photo shoots and promoting the new EP from her band "Sapphica", Mann puts her energy toward her off-the-court passion, which is making music.
Gracing the pages of Dime Magazine wearing little more than a strategically placed basketball isn’t where you would typically expect to see a WNBA player. But it's exactly where you'll find former Minnesota Lynx forward Kristin Mann.
After checking an older email account that she had long ignored, Mann came across an email from an editor at Dime. After a couple of conversations, Mann was on her way to quite a “revealing” photo shoot.
“It was a little nerve-wracking at first. I was in a room with all guys.” Mann recalls. “But I felt very comfortable; they were very professional.”
If you haven’t guessed by now, Mann isn’t your typical WNBA player. She also plays guitar, and sings in a band. And, yes, she can really sing.
The southern California native attended University of California Santa Barbara where she played not only basketball, but also a season of softball in 2003, with a batting average of .263. However, basketball is where she most definitely excelled, nabbing honors as 2001 Big West Freshman of the year, 2005 Big West Player of the year and three All-American team selections.
Mann was selected by the Minnesota Llynx with 11th overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft. She spent three seasons with Minnesota, reaching the peak of her pro career in 2007 when she started 16 games for the Lynx, averaging career-high averages of 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. The following year, Mann was snagged by the Atlanta Dream in the 2008 Expansion Draft, headed to the Indiana Fever for five games in a trade that sent Alison Bales to the Dream, then returned to Atlanta to finish out the 2008 season. Mann wound up with the Washington Mystics for 16 games in 2009, and by 2010, her career in the W had come full circle, with a return to the Lynx lineup for a five-game stint late in the season, filling in for Núria Martínez when the latter left to train for the Women's World Basketball Championships with the Spanish national team.
Unfortunately, 2010 would be the last time fans of the WNBA would see Mann on a team, but she’s not been far from basketball; she’s been busy playing overseas in France in the LFB (Ligue Féminine de Basketball).
“I wish I spoke the language; no, I do not speak French. I get asked that all the time,” chuckled Mann. “This will be my third year in a row; I should probably attempt to try.”
Even though there may be a slight language barrier, Mann doesn’t seem to mind.
“I really like the league there; I think it’s one of the best in Europe.” Mann commented. “It’s one of the more competitive leagues that I’ve played in.”
When she's not on the court, Mann pursues her other passion, which is making music. While in college, Mann and her friend Gabriel (who would become a future band mate) pulled many all-nighters making music. Gabriel’s father (a former keyboard player for Kenny Loggins) commented on the quality of their first recording, “Quiet Window”, that's when Mann realized there was potential in her musical abilities and began to take it more seriously.
Spending eight months out of the year in France makes it a bit difficult to collaborate and create music, however.
“I’ve done some recording on our EP in France –- in my closet. I needed someplace to absorb the sound, so I was literally in my closet,” laughed Mann. “Which is kind of ironic.”
Challenges aside, Mann’s band, Sapphica, has released their first EP on iTunes entitled Phase One.
The EP itself reflects influences from Sarah MacLauchlan, Dave Matthews, and intertwines a somber moodiness with rich acoustic guitar driven tracks, such as “Love at All”, “Stronger”, and their lead single “Quiet Window”. Mann also commented that she hopes to release another EP soon.
To hear her full album visit iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/sapphica/id533510450
You can also watch the full length video for her single, "Quiet Window" on youtube: http://youtu.be/2z-OjyF6_DU?hd=1
You can follow Kristen Mann on twitter @dreamingtree44.