In the WNBA, 'people are waiting to take your spot'

ByGabby Williams as told to Sean Hurd | espnW ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Editor's note: Former UConn star Gabby Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, details her rookie season with the Chicago Sky. Check back in two weeks for the 5-foot-11 forward's next "View from the Sky" on espnW.

CHICAGO -- It's really obvious when I'm not making things happen.

It's a gift and a curse. People are expecting plays to happen around me all the time, so when I'm not, it's like I'm not doing anything. I have to be someone who makes more plays all the time.

Everyone who has been watching me play should know that I don't need to score to feel I did something. I don't need to score to impact the game. I try to take a lot of pride in that. Some people see that as a weakness, which maybe it can be at times, but I see it as I can do all this other stuff -- I don't have to be on the court scoring to make things happen.

Against Atlanta [on June 27], I felt like that. Things were happening around me. I was making plays for other people, defensive plays, whatever.

The second time we played Washington [on June 22], I wasn't scoring like crazy, but I was pressuring the ball, getting steals, getting rebounds. I was making things happen, so I stayed in almost the whole second half.

Against New York on Sunday, I didn't feel like that. I wasn't scoring and I wasn't making big plays. I just felt out there. As much as I tried to get into stuff, it wasn't happening for me. I've watched the film and I know what I need to do to make myself more useful.

The mood in the Sky locker room is so different now. When we were losing, everyone felt so defeated all the time. You could see it in our body language. It was hard to be motivated when you're losing that often. I think our approach is different now. We needed to prove to ourselves that we can be one of those top teams.

It's good and it's bad to play against a team you've already played, because now they know how to play you. It's important to have your counters, and you have to anticipate that the other team knows the scout on you. Seeing players multiple times, you know what they like, what they want to do, but everyone else in the league is good enough where they have counters as well. It never ends.

One thing I've been more aware of is that it takes a lot more self-motivation to be a pro compared to college because you're replaceable now. In college, you have a four-year contract and there are a lot more teams, so the talent is spread out. You don't expect your spot to be taken. Now it can happen tomorrow, it can happen at any time. People are waiting to take your spot. That's why I want to show that I am the only person who can do what I do. Everyone in the league is trying to prove that they are bringing something that nobody else can.

The quick turnarounds between games in the WNBA have been the biggest surprise. There are days when I have to pack when I haven't even unpacked from the trip before. Once you're done with one game you have to forget about it and move on to the next. We played the Liberty on Sunday, had practice Monday, and we don't even have time to think about the New York game because we're scouting for Dallas. Then once Dallas is done we've got to get ready for Vegas. After Vegas we've got a game Saturday against I don't even remember who. It's so quick.

I'm not from Vegas I'm not from Vegas I'm not from Vegas

A lot of people have been asking me about our game against the Aces on July 5. I want to make sure everyone knows that Reno and Vegas are like two different states.

I don't claim Vegas, Vegas doesn't claim me. Everyone keeps asking, "Oh, bet you can't wait to go to Vegas," but that's the same thing as going to L.A. or Seattle.

I do have family coming, though. It's about an hour flight or an eight-hour drive from Reno. I had people come to Seattle, too. So Seattle, L.A. and Vegas are as close to home as it gets for me for WNBA road games.

'Chi-town on Three'

The whole idea of us singing "We Ready" [a song by Archie Eversole] was Allie Quigley's idea. It was super spontaneous.

The first time I really danced was against Indiana, our first game. We were singing it and doing it and I was like, "Boom!" and just kind of hit something. Then everyone liked it and went with it, and now I think everyone expects something. It's very in the moment. I always feel it out and say, "OK, what am I feeling today?" then it happens.

We invited Scottie Pippen to Wintrust Arena

Stefanie Dolson, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie and I recently went to Nike's Chicago "family reunion," an event at Loyola University that aims to encourage and cultivate the basketball scene in the city. It was fun, and we got to compete with some high school kids in pop-a-shot. Allie did a Q&A panel with Scottie Pippen and said he was really cool. We got to say hi, take a picture with him and invited him to our games.

LeBron is making how much??

I didn't see A'ja Wilson's tweet on LeBron's contract, but I've definitely had this conversation with my teammates.

It's not that we think the NBA players shouldn't be paid that much. I looked at Diamond DeShields and was like, "That's probably more than everyone in the WNBA combined -- like, everybody."

Someone put a tweet up that he will make over $450,000 per game. That's our male counterparts, and we can't even get that in a whole year, including overseas. We're like, "Dang, we're only asking for one game of that."

I predicted Bron going to L.A., by the way.

My next sneaker debut will be ...

I got a bunch of shoes from Nike that I haven't even touched yet. It's hard for me to plan out. I love the Kyrie 4 "Female Is Power" -- I think those are next. In high school I had one pair for the entire year. In college, I probably only switched between three shoes max. Now I have enough where I can switch if a shoelace gets a little frail. Obviously I'm very blessed and very lucky for that.

At the Nike family reunion, they gave me a pair of Air Zoom Pegasus 35s. I really like those.

This week's tracks

I'm not going to hate on Drake, but Drake or his new album is not for me. Nothing stood out to me.

"Bag" by Future feat. Yung Bans

"Adam and Eve" by Nas

"Duele" by Bomba Estéreo

"The Morning" by The Weeknd

I love Neymar but ...

I love Neymar. I love Neymar so much. But all the memes about his dive and his rolling ... oh my gosh, people were posting telenovela memes and they've had me dead.