The Newest Mystic
As you already know, yesterday was a BIG day in Mystics-land. We promised a report and more photos, so here they are . . .
The day began, as everyone knows, with the much-anticipated press conference. As fans and members of the media filed in, we were greeted by an empty table with an unmarked chair for the "mystery" signee. A few people behind us were wondering out loud whether the mystery woman might be Sheryl Swoopes. (Apparently, they haven't been reading our blog!)
When Katie Smith entered the room, the place exploded in cheers. Here she was, a genuine superstar, signing with the Mystics. Wow! After all these years. We've said it before, and we'll say it again -- this is a big deal. So big a deal that Mystics co-owners Sheila Johnson and Ted Leonsis were on hand to help welcome Katie. (WNBA President Donna Orender was not.)
COO Greg Bibb, GM Angela Taylor, and Head Coach Julie Plank introduced Katie and spoke about her illustrious career and what she will bring to the Mystics. Angela said that every team in the league had tried to sign Katie. We don't doubt that for a second. When it was Katie's turn to speak, she explained what drew her to D.C. (the coaches, the owners, the players and the fans). Then she talked about her approach to basketball. It's pretty simple: "I hate to lose," she said. Gotta love that! No nonsense, no drama, a great work ethic, just get the job done. No wonder Coach Plank, a fellow Buckeye, has been recruiting Katie since Katie was in high school. We're glad her persistence has finally paid off.
After the formal press conference, Katie made the rounds of the media for one-on-one interviews, including a stand-up with Christy Winters Scott for Mystics TV. Katie also spoke with fans and signed autographs. The press conference was streamed live, on-line, but it was wonderful that fans (including one of the BCs) got to experience -- in person -- this important event in franchise history.
Then, in the evening, the Mystics hosted a "meet and greet" at Bar Louie (near the Verizon Center) so that season ticketholders could meet Katie. So many fans accepted the Mystics' invitation that the place was packed. Like the press conference, the event began with formal introductions and remarks. That was followed by a buffet dinner (emphasizing healthy eating, of course: nachos, sliders, hot wings, brownies . . . and celery!) and an opportunity for fans to "meet and greet" Katie, as well as mingle and talk with Dr. J, Greg, Angela, Julie and the wonderful and always friendly members of the front office staff. As an added bonus, two of Katie's new teammates -- Alana Beard and Marissa Coleman -- were in town and attended the press conference and welcoming party. (Alana looked great, by the way, in a
Terrapin Buckeye red patterned sweater.)
When all was said and done, what impressed us the most about the newest Mystic was how she interacted with us, the fans. After two events, all the build-up, speechifying and press interviews, Katie Smith spent the better part of an hour methodically moving from table to table -- alone -- greeting every fan, posing for pictures, signing autographs, chatting. Her attention to the fans didn't seem phony and it wasn't perfunctory. After she'd talked about the great fans in D.C., you just got the feeling that she was sincerely interested in meeting the people who had shown up to welcome her to her new team. True to her reputation, very classy!
And now that we've met her and heard Katie speak, all that's left is to see her on the court, wearing Mystics Number 30. We can't wait!Photo Credits: DC BasketCases