Alana Beard follows long road back to basketball court | WNBA Talk
Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with Los Angeles guard Alana Beard.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Editor's note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with Los Angeles guard Alana Beard, who missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons due to ankle and foot injuries. An All-Star at Washington, she was left unprotected and allowed to sign with the Sparks as a free agent.
Q: You missed the Sparks' last game because of a tweaked hamstring, your first hiccup since returning to WNBA play after a two-year absence. How do you feel you're settling in, starting the previous six games?
Alana Beard: I'm doing what I can do right now. The coaching staff makes it really easy to just play basketball and not put a lot of pressure on me to do what I once did. Everybody understands I've been out for two years and it's going to take time.
Q: The last time you tried a comeback and couldn't, doctors said you'd never play again, right?
AB: When he walked into the room, his exact words were, 'You may never play basketball, again.' That was at Duke, but I was living in Maryland. So I flew back and the first thing I did was fall to my knees and started thanking God. You can't take basketball that serious. That's what this process has forced me to do. It's only basketball. Before, my whole life was revolving around this game, but when something like this happens, it gives you a different perspective.
Q: That's when you began interning with Jamba Juice through the WNBA's program?
AB: It wasn't a coincidence that I got that three-month internship. It's something I've always wanted to do. I've always wanted to franchise a Jamba Juice. I remember I was a sophomore at Duke and I told my parents that I wanted to own a Smoothie King because at the time on the East Coast and (in the) South, there weren't any Jamba Juices. I assumed that since I spent so much money there, I needed to own one of my own. My mom has always said every time I've told her I'm going to do something, I've done it. This is another task.
Q: What's your favorite smoothie?
AB: Aloha Pineapple.
Q: Technically L.A. isn't your first return to the court; you played in Israel with Tanisha Wright. So what was your true first game like?
AB: I was on a high. I had a pretty good game, 14 points in the first half, and it felt so good to be back in competition again. Israel was the perfect place for me to go and start over. It was not too demanding on the body. They play one game a week. I was also fortunate to have a great coach and play with Tanisha, who did everything so all I had to do was stand in the corner and wait (for the ball).
Q: And you traveled around the country a lot — what was your favorite experience there?
AB: That's one place you should go. There's so much to see. The fact that you read about it (in the Bible) and you can put the physical with what you read is pretty good. And northern Israel is one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen. I loved the Sea of Galilee, which is just Lake Kinneret to (Israelis).