WNBA player Essence Carson knows what it's like to put in hard work. The young basketball star has been playing since she was six, honing her skill until she was eventually drafted in 2008. But don't think that's the only thing the 26-year-old is great at: Carson also indulges her second passion by producing and performing music. After a tough day of training, we chatted with the multitalented athlete to find out what a day in the life is like when a new season is kicking into gear.
First, how did you get involved in basketball? What made you want to pursue a career in it?
It was just something a lot of the kids in the neighborhood played when I was younger. My dad was into basketball and it was just a common interest for all of us. And then my dad really loved basketball. I played in the neighborhood maybe when I was like 6 or 7. But I didn’t start playing organized until I was 11. I just had a love for the game and wanted to be the best at it. When I got drafted I was like, “Wow, this is really happening.”
You have a lot of accolades attached to your name. Any standout moments or favorite memories for you?
When I was in college, making it to the national championship game was a standout moment. Getting drafted was major for me, obviously, as well as making the all-star team in 2011.
I read that you also have a big passion for music. What are some songs we can find on your playlist?
You'll find some Jay Z and Miguel. I love Miguel. You'll find of my own music, too. I listen to a lot of different stuff.
If you weren't a basketball player, would you be doing music?
Yes. I’ve been playing music since I was nine years old, and my first performance is something I'll never forget. I play the piano, the sax, the electric bass and a little bit of drums here and there. Right now, I produce and perform when I'm not playing basketball, so I’ve gotten good at managing my time. But yeah, if I wasn't a basketball player, I would pursue music full-time.
The new season is here! Take us through a typical day of training.
I get up early in the morning and head to the gym. I don’t like to eat a heavy breakfast in the morning, so I’ll just grab some fruit and a turkey and cheese croissant. When I get to the gym I’ll take care of any treatments that I need as far as wrapping or taking care of injuries I might have. Then we do a thing called activation, which is pretty much working on your core and stability and the mechanics of your muscles to make sure that your core is stable and strong. It cuts out a lot of problems and prevents injuries. We really have to make sure our muscles are firing at the right time, because when they don’t fire off at the right time in the right order, that’s when you get nagging injuries like tendonitis.
Then we head into practice for about two hours, and we do a lot of sprinting and basketball drills. Our coach likes to do conditioning within the basketball drills so we don’t waste time. We can work on the execution of our plays while we’re getting our conditioning in. After practice, I stick around a little longer to put up some extra shots and work on my game individually. Then I cool down, stretch and ice.
How do you eat to keep your body ready for such intense workouts?
Luckily, they provide us with food after practice and we have an awesome staff. My favorite is when they cook salmon or tilapia with some spinach on the side. The salmon itself is cooked in a sweet chili sauce. It’s so good! And then I'll just add some vegetables and grab a V8 Splash drink.
When’s the first game?
Our home opener is this Friday against the Tulsa Shock. We’re feeling great. We’re getting used to the new system that’s being implemented with the team with our new coach. We’re really focusing on building team chemistry. We’ve been doing really well and heading into the game with momentum and confidence. We're ready and really excited.
Want to see Carson and the rest of the Liberty in action? Home games are at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, and tickets can be purchased at nyliberty.com.
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