Cappie Pondexter has accomplished almost everything a team could possibly ask for in a franchise player. At just 27 years old, she is a three-time all-star, two-time WNBA champion, a Finals MVP, and an Olympic champion as well.
She has not, however, taken home a season MVP award.
As Pondexter looks to return the Liberty back to its winning ways this season, perhaps the title of MVP will come hand-in-hand with her winning another championship, but this time, one in New York.
A true hybrid player, Pondexter can shoot, handle the ball, and drive to the basket. She is also strong enough to defend any position. These attributes are all similar to those of her NBA counterparts, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade.
Her arrival should provide New York basketball fans with plenty of hope. She personally requested a trade to New York (who finished at 13-21, just one win above the league-worst record of 12-22) in order to play in a bigger market and expand her fashion-image consulting company, 4 Season Style Management, which she co-founded last summer.
“Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, LeBron, David Beckham—there are so many athletes out there [building their brands],” Pondexter told Sports Illustrated. “For somebody in women’s basketball to do it, it’s something different.”
This is a win-win situation for the Liberty and Pondexter. The better she makes the Liberty, the more exposure and attention the Liberty will obtain -- and in-turn, the greater benefits Pondexter will achieve for her off-court endeavors.
Pondexter’s superstar NBA counterpoints should take note. Pondexter has obviously recognized the tremendous tangible and intangible benefits of playing for New York (even as the team finished towards the bottom of the standings). In their quest to land one or more superstar free agents, it’s safe to say that the Knicks could use any help they can get from this interesting parallel to Pondexter and her campaign to elevate her team to more wins, and perhaps a championship.
“I really want to lead this team,” she says. “It’ll be a challenge, but I’m ready for it.”
It may be easier for Pondexter than most would think. Although the Liberty had a rough season in 2009, the team has a plethora of talent in addition to Pondexter. Among the new acquisitions this season are all-star Nicole Powell and rookie Kalana Greene, who joins the Liberty straight from helping UConn to a remarkable 78 consecutive wins.
Liberty brass certainly worked hard and made productive moves to build a potential winner this off-season, much like Donnie Walsh will look to do with the Knicks.
Let’s just hope he can be just as successful.
The Liberty opens its season Sunday afternoon vs. the Chicago Sky.
For more of Keith's basketball coverage go to www.knicksjournal.com