Sparks' Lisa Leslie opines about 'Superstars,' including Joanna Krupa's argument with Terrell Owens
Don't be confused if you've been watching Sparks center Lisa Leslie perform on "The Superstars" the last two weeks and wondering, "Isn't she hurt?"
Yes, Leslie has been sidelined after suffering a sprained right knee June 19 against the Phoenix Mercury, but she told The Times today she's expecting to play as early as July 22. "The Superstars" may be reality television, but it's obviously taped weeks in advance. So the episodes will trickle out every Tuesday at 8 p.m.
In addition to Leslie blogging about her appearance on the show at wnba.com, The Times will check in with Leslie after every episode. And since Leslie wasn't at practice last week due to her injury, Leslie caught us up with everything that's transpired so far ...
How Leslie approached the competition
"I had a hard time learning how to focus and be serious. I think that’s why I didn’t so well sometimes. My game’s seriousness -- I don’t tap into it that often when I’m off the court. I had a really hard time. I show up, that is who I really am off the court."
"It was ridiculous how Joanna really treated Terrell. It was just: 'We’re here, it’s a game and it’s a competition.' It was very lighthearted and the people we worked with were amazingly nice. It was so uncalled for. She really needs to be slapped. ... I didn’t know they would show it, she cussed him out for another hour. I didn’t think they would show that. But I feel like I should've stepped up. I should’ve slapped her that night. That’s how I feel after seeing that.
"I’m not nice to her the rest of the time because I didn’t appreciate that, but I had no idea you guys would see what happened. That was totally what happened and more. She was just totally out of place. I don’t even know what the right words are to describe her. She was just so rude and obnoxious. I don’t think he deserved that. I know T.O. has his moments sometimes with the media. But he is my friend and he’s such a nice gentleman. He really is. It’s unfortunate. Terrell is my friend. I’ve known him for years. I used to go to his games. We actually watched the first episode together."
What everyone's reaction was to seeing Krupa's yelling make it on air
"Everybody wanted to slap Joanna. It wasn’t like, 'No, it’s OK.' It was like, 'That was so rude.' That’s a person. That’s a human being. You can’t be an activist for humans and then treat one like that. No one intended to get caught in the net. The net jumped on us. She even got caught in the net when she was racing us so it was bad to see that part."
On Dan Cortese, Leslie's teammate, injuring his hamstring in the sand dash in Episode 2
"He tore it. He did rehab. He’s still in rehab. My real reaction was like, 'Oh my God, Dan is hurt. I need a new teammate!' Then they said, 'Cut! Don’t say that.' Then I said, 'Sorry' I was thinking we could redo all of this. Then, I said, 'My bad. Are you OK?' That’s when you see me come in. They put me out and then I come back in and I’m like, 'Are you OK?' I thought he was cramping. I didn’t know he had torn it. Even his reaction was just like, 'Ohhh, and then I’m like, 'Are you OK?' He wasn’t like, 'Aghhh!!!' You would think a tear would be major. I know you guys don’t cry. But for us it would be devastating."
On Leslie and new teammate David Charvet dedicating the competitions to Cortese
"We had 'Team Dan' written on our arms. Dan is a good guy and it’s bad to see someone go down and get hurt. It’s kind of like the show must go on and we didn’t want to go on to the next obstacle or event without at least [remembering him]. It wasn’t for people at home really, it was for Dan to let him know we didn’t forget about you because you’re gone."
On Bode Miller's constant false starts in the sand dash
"Bode is so Bode. Bode is such a mastermind because he actually had done 'Superstars' before. He totally had an advantage because he understood how to strategize in almost every event we did. That plays out later."
On smacking into the bar during the water leap
"I didn’t feel myself touch it at all. T.O. said, 'You should’ve jumped with your bikini bottom' and I was like, 'Shut up, I’m not about to be out here in my bikini bottom.' Everybody had on the same little tights. Then when I hit it, he was like, 'I told you to put on your bikini bottom.'
"Maybe my bikini bottoms would’ve helped. But when they showed it in the replay, I actually thought I did better than I thought. It didn’t feel good because I hadn’t high jumped since high school. At Morningside I did high jump, long jump and triple jump. In fact I went to state, so it was about 18’9.
What she gained from competing
"I loved it. I learned so much about myself more than anything else. I’m so much braver than I thought. I really am a fighter. I have heart. I also love people. I had a great time. Adversity and all that doesn’t ruffle my feathers. I’m like a survivor. That’s probably what I learned the most."
Photo: Los Angeles Sparks' Lisa Leslie takes a jump shot over Detroit Shock's Barbara Farris during the second half of their WNBA basketball game on Monday, June 8, 2009. Photo credit: Jerry S. Mendoza / Associated Press.