Andrea Stinson – Charlotte Sting
Without a doubt, Andrea Stinson is one of the pillars of the WNBA. Since the league’s inception in 1997, the acrobatic guard with the million-dollar smile has started every Charlotte Sting game (220) and leads the league in total minutes played (7,177). Deeply committed to the future of basketball as whole and the WNBA in particular, it should come as no surprise the two-time all-star is spending her off-season making community appearances around Charlotte as the Sting CR Representative and coaching at Charlotte Latin High School. “I enjoy being able to give back, said Stinson. “To share all I’ve learned from the coaches and players I’ve worked with.
A second year assistant, Stinson makes sure the primary focus is not so much on winning or losing, but learning the game of basketball. “High school players are young and just want to make the fancy moves,” said Stinson. “You have to take your time and break things down. By the end of the season,” she continued, “I want them have improved, to be able to go out there and do something they couldn’t before. This is the most important time,” she adds. “We’re teaching them the skills that will get them to college. And college coaches prepare them for the WNBA.”
Ironically, Stinson now finds herself competing against the products of those college programs. “Young girls are coming in and making an impact right away,” said Stinson “taking the game to another level.” The drawback, she admitted with a laugh, is “they’re faster and quicker.” Known for her whirling dervish moves, Stinson hasn’t conceded the court just yet. “I’ve gotten smarter,” she said. “Younger teams have the talent, but haven’t developed the mental part of the game. They won’t defend the full 30 seconds, or they don’t get back after a basket. I’m thinking like a coach,” said Stinson, “and making better decisions.”
Just 35, Stinson has no intention of retiring any time soon, but is pleased to count Charlotte teammates, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Alison Feaster as some of the leagues next leaders. “She’s a great player to carry on the torch,” said Stinson of Feaster. “She has the veteran mentality and the youth. She can handle it. I have faith,” continued Stinson “in those who’ll continue to play Charlotte basketball and uphold the name of the WNBA.”