September 9, 2020 

She Got Next, Episode 6: Pepper Persley talks to Joyner Holmes, New York Liberty

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Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.


Joyner Holmes speaks to media via Zoom, August 11, 2020. (Screenshot via NBA Content Network)

This week, our own Pepper Persley is joined by Joyner Holmes of the New York Liberty. The rookie, out of University of Texas, discusses a rebuilding campaign for New York, Holmes’ own development as a player, how her Texas experience has shaped her professional arc and much more.


Transcript:

PEPPER PERSLEY: Hello and welcome to this episode of “She Got Next” with me, Pepper Persley. On this episode, there is a very awesome and special interview with Liberty rookie Joyner Holmes. Hope you enjoy the interview!

PERSLEY: Hi everyone and welcome to “She Got Next” with Pepper Persley. Today I’m here with New York Liberty forward Joyner Holmes. I’m really looking forward to speaking with you today. Thank you so much for being on my show, Joyner.

JOYNER HOLMES: Thank you for having me.

PERSLEY: No problem. I’m so excited to talk with you. Are you ready to get into the questions?

HOLMES: Yes, ma’am, I am.

PERSLEY: For people who didn’t watch you at Texas, can you tell us about your style of play?

HOLMES: Can you repeat that question, the last part?

PERSLEY: For people who didn’t watch you at Texas, could you tell us about your style of play?

HOLMES: [inaudible] I like to get out of transition and run, I like to rebound, I like to get into posting work down low, play kind of a fast pace as much as possible. I like to get out in transition. My games opened up, I can shoot the jump shot to the three, so I’m kind of all-around pretty versatile.

PERSLEY: Well I’ve definitely seen that versatility watching you on the Liberty. What are you hoping to bring to the Liberty the rest of the season?

HOLMES: Just constant energy, you know, and just constant communication with the team. I’ve been just coming off the bench, you know, you have to have a lot of energy and bring things that you’re seeing that aren’t going well. You have to find that way to get those things to go well when you’re coming off the bench, you can’t go in and make the same mistakes. So just trying to watch out for that and be accountable for my energy every time I get on the floor, and my effort. Just bringing the intangible things that I can bring, like I said, trying to rebound and start the break, make plays at the offensive end as well as the defensive end, and just be the energy player that I need to be for this team and just keep them going.

PERSLEY: Awesome. Well, I’ve definitely seen that energy out on the court. Being a rookie, can you share the differences between the WNBA and your time at Texas?

HOLMES: Yeah, I think it’s just the pace in general. For me right now, I think for all of us, we’re just trying to get used to the pace. I mean, teams are different, some teams are slow and other teams are faster, and just their intensity and their effort. I know a lot of people in this league are very aggressive and they want to get [inaudible], and they want to get to be, you know, trying to be as strong or how to condition as much as possible. And just I think really adjusting to the pace of the game. And as far as that goes, I think especially as a rookie coming in, you don’t really know what to expect, you know, you’re going to against grown women. [inaudible] It’s the pace of the game, for sure.

PERSLEY: Yeah. I’ve watched college versus the WNBA and I’ve definitely noticed the pace change. But I can tell you’re definitely getting used to it and playing very well. You played at college with Ariel Atkins of the Mystics. [HOLMES: Right.] What advice has she given you about playing in the WNBA?

HOLMES: I think just trying to be myself day in and day out, you know, like, don’t conform to anybody or whatever. People are trying to make you into different things, just continue to try to be yourself. That’s the reason why you got here, you know, and that’s why God blessed you with this opportunity. So just trying to continue to be yourself at all times, and just come in and immediately just attack and work, and work your butt off as much as you can, and just come in and have an impact right away. I mean, that’s what she did at the Mystics. [inaudible] Just in this summer workouts and stuff, and just trying to keep me, like, head on straight and stuff. [inaudible]

PERSLEY: Yeah, I definitely have seen you definitely being yourself compared to your time at Texas. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned from Liberty veterans?

HOLMES: Believing in yourself and knowing that you’re capable of doing things that you might not think you’re capable of [inaudible] with these big-time players and these people that you’ve watched on TV for years. You know, like, my teammates are so adamant and they have so much belief and, like, trust in us as rookies. So that’s just a really good feeling to be able to fall back on, you know, like, if people actually trust you and they’ve only been playing with you for 30-plus days. So just being able to go out there and do the things that you’re capable of and your teammates know you are capable of and they have your back, I think that’s one of the best things that I’ve taken away from the part of the season that we’re in right now.

PERSLEY: I know you mentioned your team and having a lot of rookies. There are actually seven rookies on Liberty this season including you. How of you and the rest of the rookies on the Liberty developed team chemistry?

HOLMES: I think it’s a lot easier coming in as a rookie with other rookies beside you because you guys are all going kind of through the same thing, same struggles. So you’re able to talk to each other about a lot of stuff. [inaudible] I think we’re just helping each other out day in and day out. You know, sometimes you might see something that they can’t see and so you just tell them like, Oh, … I think you should have played it this way. But just being able to, like, connect on a personal level and like, especially since they’re all kind of around the same age range and kind of going through the same things, it’s easy for us to help each other and understand each other.

PERSLEY: Well, it seems like you’re just developing team chemistry even on a personal level, which is so awesome. And what are some of the professional basketball players you admired when you were growing up?

HOLMES: My former coach, Tina Thompson, we talk almost every other day. I think Diana Taurasi [inaudible]. Lisa Leslie, growing up I really admired her. Candace Parker, I admire her, Candace Parker. Elena Delle Donne, I think she’s phenomenal. And then my former teammate and one of my really, really good friends, Ariel Atkins.

PERSLEY: Yeah, there’s just some awesome people, and I know you mentioned your coach Tina Thompson, what is the best advice you got from her?

HOLMES: Just continuing to show that you belong, I think that’s a big, big one. The simplicity of the thing and everything, like, I belong and there’s a reason why people —New York took a chance on me. And just being able to use that in every aspect, you know, like, she’s always telling me you don’t really see players of your height, your size, … that have the ability that you do have, and so just using that to my advantage at all costs, you know. And just everything she’s taught me from here on out. But I think one of the major things that stuck out to me is just showing that you belong, like you belong in every place.

PERSLEY: Yeah. I know, I can tell, it seems so awesome to have a legend as your coach. [HOLMES: Right.] Your rookie season is in the wubble, so that’s really your only WNBA experience. How are you adjusting to this new, unique season?

HOLMES: [inaudible] Wearing a mask all the time and just staying safe and washing your hands all the time and stuff like that. But I think as far as the WNBA goes, I think they put together a really nice area for us, and I’m enjoying it, you know. It’s a new place, different weather and stuff out here in Florida compared to Texas, but I think they did a really good job of putting this together and I’m happy and excited that we all made it out here. We’re doing well so far, we’re staying safe.

PERSLEY: Yes, I’m so glad you’re staying safe. Now I’m going to switch over to a couple questions about activism. Coming into the league as a rookie with all the social justice activism and initiatives in the league, how does this inspire you?

HOLMES: It’s a really traumatizing time for the world, I think, for sure, but I think just us being able to be the main focus of saying her name and just getting things out there for these people. And fighting for justice for Black Lives Matter, and for Sandra Bland, and Breonna Taylor, I think it’s just a big piece for us. Especially as an African American female and as a woman, I think it’s just a good thing for us to be able to, like, put these notions out there and be able to stand up for what we think is right and for the world to hear us and listen to us. You know, I mean, we’re trying to get to the NBA stage, but we’re doing it day by day now, and I think it’s a really good start for us.

PERSLEY: Yeah, I think the WNBA is awesome as-is. And what social justice initiatives are the Liberty taking as an organization?

HOLMES: I know we donated a large sum of money to a charitable profit for Black Lives Matter. But other than that, you know, just constantly just listening to Layshia [Clarendon] on certain things, just the WNBA calls that they’re having about Say Her Name and Black Lives Matter and stuff that’s going on in the world. And just constantly wearing our Say Her Name T-shirts and our Breonna Taylor T-shirts and stuff, and just constantly being on social media platforms as much as possible.

PERSLEY: Yeah, I know you mentioned Layshia Clarendon, and I had the opportunity to actually speak with them. And Layshia is so inspiring. I have one last question for you. What do you want people to learn about Joyner Holmes that they might not already know?

HOLMES: I have a super outgoing spirit and a great personality. You know, you might not get to show it that much because [inaudible] you’re kind of focused so much, but I have a great personality. Like, I think my teammates here love me, so that’s good. But other than that, outside of basketball, it’s just really … I’m a really pure person, I have really good energy and really good vibes and stuff like that, but I love playing tennis. I really do love playing tennis. I love getting my nails done. [inaudible] And yeah. [laughs]

PERSLEY: Well through this interview, I’ve definitely seen your awesome personality. Thank you so much, Joyner, for being on my show.

HOLMES: Thank you for having me.

PERSLEY: No problem. Thank you so much, and good luck to you and the Liberty in the rest of your season.

HOLMES: Thank you.

PERSLEY: A big thank you to the New York Liberty and Joyner Holmes for allowing me to have a wonderful conversation with her. As always, you can find me on Instagram at @dishwithpepper, and please tune in to my next episode. Thank you so much for tuning in.

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