Dishin & Swishin 9/03/15 Podcast: As she prepares for her 500th WNBA game, DeLisha Milton-Jones looks back
In her 17th season in the WNBA, Atlanta Dream forward DeLisha Milton-Jones stands at the cusp of a number never reached before: 500; as in 500 WNBA games played. That does not even count the ABL games with the Portland Power, international play, or USA Basketball participation. Any way you look at it, that is a lot of basketball!
It is a pleasure to welcome Milton-Jones back to Dishin & Swishin, to discuss the state of the WNBA game, and reflect back on her storied career. Always an unheralded, unsung star, Milton-Jones’ resume includes two WNBA titles, two All-Star appearances, two Olympic gold medals and the NCAA Wade Trophy.
One could say she is a cerebral player. She has picked up nuances of the game from greats like Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edwards, Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley. This may be her biggest strength, and it is helped her keep a spot in the league when more younger, less expensive, more athletic players have challenged her. This year for the Dream she is virtually another coach for a team featuring young talent in Shoni Schimmel, Cierra Burdick, Reshanda Gray and Damiris Dantas.
This season presented a different type of challenge for Milton-Jones. Coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon that cost her virtually all of 2014, the compressed WNBA schedule has not allowed her the practice time she feels needed to get back to normalcy. The result is limited minutes, actually getting released and signing seven-day contracts for the first time in her career before being signed for the remaining part of the season by the Dream. As she says in the podcast, every player has an ego, and Milton-Jones needed to shelve hers and taken the advisory role mentioned earlier.
Despite a late run that showed flashes of “the old Atlanta Dream,” three-time WNBA finalists, it is a disappointing season that will see the Dream miss the playoffs. However, the transition to the Dream of the future is underway; Schimmel is the starting point guard now, a role she could not earn earlier, and the young Gray and Dantas came in a trade for All-Star but aging Erika de Souza. Add in a lottery pick to Angel McCoughtry, plus Sancho Lyttle, and the Dream could be a playoff contender again shortly.
Topics covered on the podcast include:
- Breaking Tina Thompson’s record for WNBA games played in a career
- Greatest influences on and off the court
- Today’s game, the refereeing and the amount of fouls called
- Looking at greats like Leslie, Swoopes and Edwards; who of today’s stars could play in the more physical past?
- Mentoring and advising her younger teammates, including Schimmel, on her game, and her conditioning
- The composition of the Dream roster, the rotating guard problem, and its impact on the season
- What the future holds, predictions for this year’s WNBA postseason
Milton-Jones never holds back on the court, and does not hold back in this interview. She dissects the game thoroughly, and it is her ability to do this that makes her a success on the court, in the broadcast boost, and eventually on the coaching sideline.
Enjoy the podcast!