Interview: Chantelle Anderson

Former Vanderbilt star Chantelle Anderson is in her third season in the WNBA. After two years with the Sacramento Monarchs, she was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars before the start of the season. When the Silver Stars visited Indianapolis last week VandyMania's WhitneyD talked with her about her life as a professional basketball player.

VM: Chantelle, you've been a professional basketball player for more than two seasons now. Could you talk about what it's like -- what you like, what's hard about it, what's different about it from college, things like that.

Chantelle: I love my job. I love what I do for a living. But that's the biggest difference between now and college. It's a job, and you have to realize that it's a job, and it's about money. You still have fun, but it's totally different.

VM: Could you elaborate a little on how it's different?

Chantelle: Well, in college people care about you. Your coaches care about you - or my coaches did, some people experience this change in college, but my coaches cared about me. It was a more of a family atmosphere. You had your teachers, you had your professors, your tutors, your teammates. Everybody cares about what's going on in your life and you growing as a person, and it's not like that here. They care about what you do on the court. They care if you have a good practice. They care if you have a good game - and that's it. And so that's the biggest difference. Your teammates to a certain extent care about you, but- it's just different.

VM: In college, you start out as a freshman then over the next four years, there's a lot of continuity, year round. Since you've been playing professionally, you were at Sacramento two years and have played internationally with two different teams, and now you're with San Antonio. It seems like that would work against that type of "family" feeling.

Chantelle: It kind of does. In Sacramento, the team was really close because we had played together a lot, so it's hard. It's like transferring schools, almost. It's kind of the same. You get to know your teammates as the season goes on, and you care about them more and more as time goes on. But it's just a different level of connection there in college.

And so, I don't know - I think it's so much fun because this has given me opportunity, like the money I'm making now is amazing for somebody my age, just out of college and doing something that I love to do and have fun doing. And it's given me the opportunity to do things, like help my parents out, help my sister out, stuff like that.

That's what I really love about the situation that I'm in now. It's opened doors for me that I never would have thought. I've traveled all around the world. I love traveling. I love learning about new cultures and stuff like that. So there's a lot of good stuff, a lot of good stuff. And playing in arenas like this in front of crowds. It's great. I love it.

VM: Has any aspect of it turned out to be more difficult than you would have thought?

Chantelle: Yeah, I think the time in Sacramento was very difficult just because I wasn't playing. And in college, you take it for granted, like you're going to play, you're going to be good, you're going to do whatever and that's just how it is. Or at least that's how it was for me. I took it for granted, and then I went to Sacramento, and I didn't play, and kind of I didn't know what to do. I was like, ohmigosh, what's going on.

So now, I kind of feel like a freshman again in terms of playing, and I've had some really good games and I've had some really bad games this year because it's like my first time playing. I'm having a good time, but I think the best part of that situation is that I don't take it for granted any more. I love every single minute I'm on the court, and even when I'm not playing well, I'm having fun. Usually when I'm not playing well, it's because I forget to have fun. So that's one of the coolest things about the change in the situation and one of the best things about the opportunity for me to get to play here.

VM: The WNBA has a very intense schedule, you do a lot of traveling. When you do that, do you have time in the cities you visit to see anything of the cities?

Chantelle: Not really travel in the cities but just see people we know, yeah. Like a lot of people have family here. I'm going to go out with Jenni after the game. Stuff like that. It's cool because in college you leave right after the game, but in the pros you stay the night and leave the next morning usually. So after the game, you don't have to worry about the game any more. You get the chance to go and hang out with whoever you want in that city. So that's cool.

VM: In college, I know you and Michelle Snow were very good friends, and whenever Vandy and Tennessee played, the press made a big to-do about it. Are ya'll still friends? Do you still see each other?

Chantelle: Yeah, We're still friends. I'm actually so excited for her. She's having an amazing season this year. She was an all-star. I went to the all-star game to support her. Yeah, it was amazing. So we're still friends. We didn't get to see each other as much because we aren't as close, but now we're just three hours away. That's one great thing about college -- you meet so many lifelong friends. I have basically a good friend on every single team, and it's really cool. You get to see your friends a lot, relatively speaking. So it's cool, that's a great thing about college and going on to the pros. You get to maintain friendships.

VM: Have you started thinking about what happens after pro basketball?

Chantelle: Yeah, a little bit. I'm working really hard right now in terms of playing year round, playing basketball to make that money so that I can invest and so that I can set myself up and put myself in situations after I'm done playing basketball. Then I can pretty much do whatever I want and not have to worry so much about the financial aspect. I can just do something that I really enjoy, and at the same time I want to keep the same quality of life that I'm living right now, which is good.

So, after basketball, I always wanted to be a commentator. I love Cheryl Miller's job as sideline reporter. I think she has the ideal job for me. I think that would be so much fun.

But I don't really know specifically. I definitely want to get into some non-profit work, some charity work. There are a lot of people that helped me. I didn't have a lot of money. I didn't have a lot of knowledge about opportunities that could be out there, but I had talent. And I know there are a lot of people that saw my talent and then so afforded me those opportunities, so I would like to get into some work with getting young women that kind of opportunities that I had and that were given to me. And so I don't specifically what I'm going to do but after basketball it will definitely have something to do with that.

VM: It's a ways off yet.

Chantelle: Yeah, that's a while. I'll probably start getting into it when I'm not going overseas so much as well. Not necessarily totally after basketball, but maybe when I'm just playing in the WNBA and staying over here for a little bit longer, which is going to be not that far away. I don't want to be going overseas for seven months forever.

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Photographs copyright 2005 by WhitneyD for Top Stories