Two Days in New York: Brunch, Book Signing, and WNBA Talks

It is close to noon when I arrived in Manhattan, New York on February 7, 2024. I went to brunch with my partner, Chernisse is her name. Writing that made me smile. I always smile when I’m around her. Likewise, I believe. Going back to the story, she greeted me when I arrived at the train station. I was hoping to surprise her by wearing my new hat.

At the train station, I became a little lost. It took me about five minutes to find her because I haven’t gone to New York in a while. I turned the corner as I was approaching the escalator, and we looked at each other. She rolled her eyes and smiled as she began to come towards me. She immediately cringed, as I could tell. Goal achieved, I thought to myself. I gave her a strong hug as she walked over to me. She was quite tense and embarrassed. Even better! We both laughed as I embraced my new look.

Every now and then I like to make her feel embarrassed. It keeps the relationship fun, you know. I couldn’t stop thinking on my way to see her, “Oh, she’s going to hate this. Let’s go!” Funny thing is, the hat did not last for long. I kind of knew it was too much for her to bare, so I packed an extra hat.

So, we’re having brunch at Bubby’s right now. I ordered fried chicken and pancakes, and she got an avocado toast. By the way, great restaurant. It has a diner vibe to it and is typically full. Afterwards, we went to a cafe after breakfast since I had a Zoom panel with Ebony Edwards and Domonique Johnson to speak to Girls Inc DC kids. That panel was just awesome. The student’s questions made me recognize how much I had accomplished.

One of the questions, “What was my favorite moment with my sport?” was one that really stood out to me. I shared my favorite experience when I was playing in Morocco, we won the championship and, while returning to the city by bus, the entire community celebrated and embraced us for bringing the city’s first-ever championship. That was an amazing experience that I will always remember, and I’m glad I could share it.

Following the panel, my sister and I went to Barnes & Noble to see the book signing for A’Ja Wilson. Union Square’s Barnes & Nobles. I wish I had more time to take in the bookstore. A few books really caught my attention because I’m really into reading right now.

Our ticket was scanned by the front desk staff when we arrived at the event on the fourth floor, and we were seated somewhat in the middle but still close to the front. I can still picture myself scanning the crowd to see whether I recognized any other athletes or faces. I saw A’Ja’s dad, a former WNBA coach, a similar face to Geno Auriemma, but it wasn’t him. We patiently waited for A’Ja to come out onto the stage. When she came, the atmosphere in the room became loud immediately. She hasn’t even said anything yet! The anticipation and how moved people were already. A’ja became emotional right away and expressed how much she enjoyed that energy.

I thought the host was okay. A’Ja’s responses were genuine and honest. She shared her story about getting swept in the WNBA finals, and that’s when I could relate to her the most. She talked about how she was trying to live up to the expectations of being the MVP and champion, and that she kind of lost sight of who she was. Her book’s title, after all, expresses how she wants to break free from that way of thinking and just be herself. That was the first panic attack she had ever experienced, she revealed. When she revealed this, my eyes got big because I felt like I could connect to it as an athlete who is under constant pressure to perform well.

Following that, we had to wait in line to take a photo with her. It was nice to converse briefly and to be able to experience greatness. Attending her event, in my opinion, was both informative and motivating. It was useful to watch the process after the book was finished because I’m now writing my own book. I was able to see what I can do for my event or book signing.

I had an interview with my sister at Midnight Express Diner the following day. This was one of my favorite interviews because: 1) I love diners; and 2) I only used one camera because there wasn’t really a need for a second one given the tight space in the diner. Even with some of the background noise, the audio was clear. I was quite pleased with how this interview came out. Normally, there are a few mistakes made, but I was able to make sure that everything went as planned. I appreciated Jordan’s openness and honesty in sharing her experience. 

It was also cool because we talked about the WNBA. Few podcasts exist that focus only on the WNBA, its players, and the game itself. Few podcasts with female hosts. So I’ve decided to manifest this with my podcast, I hope to reach more more WNBA players, coaches, fans, and spectators to discuss the league on it. 

During my two days in New York, I had a whirlwind of experiences that left me feeling fulfilled and inspired. Spending time with Chernisse brought joy and laughter, especially with her reaction to my new hat. Brunch at Bubby’s was satisfying, and the Zoom panel discussion left me feeling appreciated and valued. Attending A’Ja Wilson’s book signing was a highlight, as I felt a strong connection to her story and admired her authenticity. From interviewing my sister and deciding to bring more focus to the WNBA though my podcast felt like manifesting a passion into reality, aiming to reach more players, coaches, and fans. Overall, my trip was marked by meaningful connections, laughter, and a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration.