August 21, 2012
Host: Ted Simons
Ann Meyers Drysdale: Author
- Basketball Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale, a Vice President for both the Phoenix Mercury and the Phoenix Suns, talks about her book, “You Let Some Girl Beat You?”.
Category: The Arts
- Ann Meyers Drysdale - Basketball Hall of Famer, Vice President, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns
| Keywords: drysdale
Ted Simons: Our next guest is a basketball legend, Ann Meyers Drysdale. She was a member of the first U.S. women's basketball team to go to the Olympics, and she was one of the first women inducted into the national basketball hall of fame. She is a sports broadcaster and now an author. Her book, "You Let Some Girl Beat You?," is the story of her remarkable life on and off the court. Joining me now to talk about the book is Ann Meyers Drysdale, who we know in Arizona as the vice president for both the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury. It’s good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: Thank you, Ted, I'm excited to be here.
Ted Simons: That’s good to hear because I've got a lot of questions for you. The first is: why that book, why now?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: A lot of people have asked me over the course of the years to write a book. I never thought my story was very interesting. The co-author of the book pulled a lot of stuff out of me that I never would have talked about. I think with being here in Phoenix and my tryout with the Pacers and UCLA, the Olympics, my family, Don, there are so many things that have happened in my life. Certainly this being the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the timing just seemed right.
Ted Simons: I want to get to Title IX in a second. But before Title IX, there was you as 11 kids in your family? My good- Were you competitive from the beginning? You’d have to be competitve
Ann Meyers Drysdale: I would say so. My dad and mom grew up in Milwaukee and my dad played basketball at Marquette in the 40s. So we grew up on sports. Not only grew up on it but as you said, from a large family, having that kind of competitiveness, it was great all of us being outside. Whether it was kicking a ball around or playing hide and seek and basketball and football, just all kinds of different games. It was very competitive.
Ted Simons: When you were young, is there a point where you said, I'm pretty good at this, I could go pretty far with this? Was there a game or a point where you just knew this was clicking?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: My dad played basketball so all of us played ball. And I have an older sister Patty that played and I was fortunate enough to come along when I did with title IX. So many women opened up the doors for me. So many women made it so much easier for me. I just happened to come along when maybe the media was paying attention a little bit more. Now I see what's happening with the young women of today. The women before me and my sister Patty, they were always playing sports. So yes, I played basketball but I loved track and football and baseball and I did all the things my brothers did. I was between two boys, my brothers David and Jeff. The three of us were always were competing against each other.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about Title IX. What is Title IX, and talk about the impact on women's sports in general and your career in particular.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: There was a law signed in 1972,that gives women the equal right -- it was an education bill, the equal rights as far as funds as to what males get. We know today 40 years later a lot of schools are still not in compliance with Title IX. I know a lot of men are upset because men's sports have been cut on the college level because of Title IX, they feel. But if they look before Title IX there was really only one sport, maybe two sports that is the finances- that bring in the money, and that's football and men's basketball. A few women's schools bring in money with basketball, whether it be Tennessee or Connecticut. In saying that, if there's a certain amount of scholarships on one sport, the women get that same amount of scholarships. I don't know how scholarships in football, if there are 85, then you have to equalize the scholarships for women in something else. That's where it comes from. It's supposed to be equal. It was an education bill. It's become the calling card for women in sports.
Ted Simons: You could just look up Title IX and read a book on that, because of the way it's been -- it's tried to be implemented, and folks who have fought the implementation.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: We still fight that it needs to still be here. If you look at the Olympics, we're just coming from London, the United States had a bigger delegation of women for the first time, the United States going over to London, and we won more medals than the men did.
Ted Simons: Interesting.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: And most of the women will tell you whether it be swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, basketball, a lot of women come -- have come up and said, I wouldn't be here today without Title IX.
Ted Simons: And you were the first to win a Division I athletic scholarship?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: At UCLA.
Ted Simons: And you were also the first to sign a contract with an NBA team, a lot of firsts there. With all this going on in the 1960s, 1970s, those years, did you know you were a pioneer? Was there more pressure because you were a pioneer?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: No, I was just doing something I loved to do. That's what I was exposed to. If you were raised up in music or Chrissie Evert in tennis and her family and so forth, my family just happened to be basketball. But when I was growing up too there were not a lot of organized sports for young girls, track and swimming. Tennis and golf were a rich man's sport. If you didn't have the kind of money to put your kids into those country club kinds of sports, so basketball was easy, just go down to the playground or even we taped up a square on the wall and play in the front hall. It's easy to grab a ball and play by yourself. For me, you know, I thought that I was going to the Olympics. Babe Dedrickson was a role model for me because I read a book on her. And that was another reason I wanted to write a book because that book made an impact on me in fourth grade, to want to be an Olympian and represent my country. It came true for me, not in track and field, but in basketball.
Ted Simons: I asked about the pressure of being a trailblazer and pioneer. When you were the first woman signing a deal with an NBA team, the Indiana Pacers, the reaction was hostile to the max. And that surprised you.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: It did. I went to UCLA, my brother David was a senior when I was a freshman. He was on Coach John Wooten's last 1975 team. The media took off on us as a human interest story, a brother and sister act, we were both all-Americans. So it was very positive, not only in Los Angeles but throughout the country. Then David went on to play in the NBA, and then Coach Wooten retired and he was very influential in my life. I went on to UCLA and played in the Olympics in 1976 and won the silver. And then my senior year Billy Moore came to coach us, who was my Olympic coach and we won the championship in my senior year. I'm the number one draft pick in the WBL, which was the first woman’s pro-league but you had to be an amateur to continue to play in the Olympics. I wanted to go to the 1982 Olympics. During that time while I was playing for the United States, Sam Nassi, the new owner of the Indiana Pacers approached me about coming into the NBA. As a young kid growing up, that's what I saw, maybe one a week TV show on the NBA, whether it was the Celtics or the Knicks or the Lakers, you'd go out to the playground and practice those things, and now I was being asked to play in the NBA. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.
Ted Simons: Yeah, but the reaction was tough, wasn't it?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: It was. But what really helped me is I didn't pay attention to it. I didn't read the papers or look at the TV. I didn't talk to the media a whole lot until I got to the tryout at the gym. It's like today, Facebook and Twitter and social media is so -- if you were to pay attention to that, you would go into a little hole about how many people do not like you and say you're not good enough.
Ted Simons: Everyone's aware of that, the comments sections on public websites are an interesting place to be. Talk about Don Drysdale. How did you meet? And talk about your relationship. Because You're a competitor. This guy was a competitor times 10. He would brush people back just for looking at him the wrong way. Were Scrabble games rough around the house?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: He was certainly the love of my life, no question about that. Losing him in 1993 was very difficult when he passed away. When I met him I didn't know who he was because I hadn't followed baseball that much. We grew up in Southern California. We’d heard of Colefax and Drysdale. All my brothers were Giants fans so I was kind of a Giants fan, that wasn't good. I had been invited to the Superstars, the women's superstars made for the competition for women and men. He and Bob Eucher were the announcers. My mom is from Milwaukee, Bob Eucher is from Milwaukee. Don and I hit it off and he continued to pursue me and I'm so happy he did. Being competitive, yes. He got me into playing golf. We would go on the range and we would say, for this, we will see who can get the closest chip on this, and so forth. Doggone it, he would always beat me. He loved competition and certainly didn't let me beat him a lot of times.
Ted Simons: Such a similar trait between the two, I'm sure it was a remarkable relationship. Just in general, and in losing Don, and the good things in your life, the rough things in your life. Sports, lessons learned from sports. They really do last a lifetime, don't they?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: Absolutely. I've been blessed in so many ways, Ted. With my family and the three children we have, sports has taught us so much. It's so important for young girls and young boys today to compete in sports, because of the life lessons. Self-confidence and leadership and teamwork and how to win and how to lose. I don't think a lot of kids know how to fail today. I always compare it to basketball. When I was growing up, you had one size basket and one size ball. I failed a lot, I lost a lot, I got teased a lot. Now we make it so easy. We have all these different sized balls and we lower the basket and everything is success, success. You're giving the kids a medal just for being in the race. That’s all well and good but at times when you grow up and go into the business world or the family world, you're not always going to have that success.
Ted Simons: One of the chapters of the books, I know something you say often is, the road to the boardroom is through the locker room. That's basically what you're talking about here?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: I think most people that are successful, it's been proven today that women who are in the corporate world, too, 80% of them have been athletes.
Ted Simons: Do you think Title IX -- getting back to that real quickly here. Do you think the current crop of women athletes understand the importance of something like that? Understand what happened prior to Title IX?
Ann Meyers Drysdale: It's different. You don't want to beat a dead horse but they have to find out a different way. There are still battles to be made. I think they will find out when things aren't going the way they think they should because they are a woman in the same environment a man is, whether they are not getting paid the same, and actually in the corporate world, women still get paid 78 cents to the dollar that men do, and minority women are paid 10 cents less than that. Things equal? No. A lot of women, so much is given to them, which is great, because of women before them with Title IX. They will understand the fights are for them.
Ted Simons: And they’ll understand your fight as well with this book. Congratulations on the book and continued success in your career with the Suns and the Mercury. Let's get that team turned around.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: A lot of injuries, but we're excited about the Suns' season. If we can get it turned around for the Mercury season, there's always next year.
Ted Simons: Thanks for joining us.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
- Back from a trade and goodwill mission to Mexico, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton talks about the trip and other current events.
- Greg Stanton - Phoenix Mayor
| Keywords: phoenix
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. Governor Brewer today defended her decision to deny driver's licenses and other state benefits to young immigrants granted temporary legal status by the federal government. The Governor said that she has compassion for those brought here illegally at a young age, but she said it was their parents' responsibility to follow the law. The governor said that she does not hate Hispanics or immigrants, and she called on the federal government to secure the border. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton went to Mexico last week to take part in a trade mission, accompanied by the mayor of Tucson, along with a number of Phoenix city government and business leaders. And here to talk about the trip and other topics is Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. Good to see you, thanks for joining us.
Greg Stanton: Glad to be back.
Ted Simons: The trade mission to Mexico, what was the focus here?
Greg Stanton: Opening doors. The reality is that I'm going to be focused as mayor on jobs and economic development. I said during my state of the city that I was going to go to Mexico again and again to build those relationships. They are our number one trading partner. And that relationship- trade relationship, economic relationship- means go nowhere but up. And I, as mayor, am going to use my bully pulpit and my partnership with the mayor of Tucson to open as many doors as I can to support our businesses. The purpose of the mission was to get down there, have our business leaders meet business leaders down there, and look for areas of mutual opportunity. But also to send a message, a message from the city leadership of this state and that is this: We want your business, we love diversity, we need to partner with you. Your success and our success are related to each other. We can't succeed without you and you can't succeed without us. We need to build the strongest economic relationships that we can, and that's going to be my focus as mayor.
Ted Simons: Was that message lost in the kerfuffle, if you will, regarding SB 1070 and immigration in general?
Greg Stanton: The reality is that some of the positions that have been taken here in the state of Arizona, position that have left an impression that the state is divisive and doesn't respect and embrace the diverse communities here has hurt us in Mexico, certainly on the tourism side it has hurt us. And it has made some folks less willing really to open their minds when it comes to dealing with Arizona. My message is, you know, to the extent that there have been things that have been passed that have been divisive, that doesn't really represent the majority of Arizonans. I grew up in Phoenix and I represent the largest city in the state of Arizona. The city that I represent, we love the diversity here, we embrace it. We want to do business with our friends in Mexico. We understand that our growing Latino population, over 40% of our city, is a strategic economic advantage. I plan to take full advantage of that population.
Ted Simons: How often when you met with folks down there, how often was immigration, immigration enforcement, the whole nine yards, how often was immigration in general mentioned among business and government leaders down there?
Greg Stanton: It's mentioned regularly. They pay close attention to what happens in the political environment in the United States of America. The tourists have choices about which communities they are going to visit. States that embrace diversity, those they feel don't engage in divisive language. There are states that the people in Mexico are going to want to spend their time and money in. Look, I've taken a position and I believe from the bottom of my heart that being pro-people is pro-business. I'm not naive about immigration. We have to have a stronger border policy. We have to pass comprehensive immigration reform. I believe that passing the Dream Act will be -- help our Arizona economy by getting those young people on to college. We need more college graduates in our community. So we can be tough on the border and smart about immigration policy, and still have a great business and trade relationship with Mexico. Those are not inconsistent with each other. I would argue that they are exactly consistent with each other.
Ted Simons: Last point on the trip, I understand the impression of Tucson on government and business leaders in Mexico, a little more favorable than the impression of Phoenix. Is that accurate?
Greg Stanton: I think that is accurate. Over my time as mayor, we will send that message that all of Arizona really does embrace our diverse communities. That to the extent these divisive things have occurred, they don't represent the majority of Arizonians; they don’t represent the majority of the people in my city. But the other message we sent is, as cities, we're going to lead. To the extent that maybe passage of divisive legislation has set us behind a little bit from tourism and some of the trade relationships, as mayors we don't care about any of that stuff. We care about jobs and we care about economic development. We're going to do right by the people of our communities. Cities are not going to wait for anybody else to lead. We are going to lead. It was important that you saw a strong partnership, myself and Michael Nowakowski from our Phoenix City Council representing Phoenix, and Mayor Rothschild of Tucson. Phoenix and Tucson are not rivals in this regard. We are partners when it comes to increasing trade with our friends in Mexico.
Ted Simons: He referred to in-state tuition. I know you think that should be offered to kids who are eligible for deferred action status, these so-called Dream Act kids. Why do you say that when Critics say it's not necessarily fair, A, that American-born kids have the same kind of situation going, and B, the state really can't afford this.
Greg Stanton: I want as many people in this community to graduate high school and move on to college as possible. People who view higher education as a static entity are wrong. We want more people graduating high school. We want more people demanding entrance into college. Maricopa County community colleges, Arizona state universities, we want these to be growing institutions, not static institutions. The more we can get these young people who came here at a young age at someone else's decision, who are making the right choices, graduating from high school and moving on to colleges the more we can get them into institutions of higher education long-term, the better our economy will be here. With regard to those so-called Dream Act kids, you know, they have -- it's a diverse population obviously. It's a bilingual population. They understand and appreciate cultural differences in Mexico and Latin America. And as we engage in international trade, particularly in that part of the world, that will be a strategic economic advantage for our country. As mayors, we're going to leave divisive politics to others. We will take positions we believe are in the long-term best economic interests of this community. I believe in getting young people educated is a really smart economic decision.
Ted Simons: There are some that say that particular position ignores the law. The law says these folks aren't citizens and shouldn't get in-state tuition. The Governor, just today, basically said she feels bad for them, but she's blaming their parents for putting them in this position in the first place.
Greg Stanton: I've taken a position that I support the dream act because it's good economic policy for our city and long-term for our state. Again, I want to get as many young people in this community -- and these are young people that came here at a young age,that have grown up in this community. I don't want to engage in divisive policy. I want to engage in smart policy, getting as many young people as possible, Dream Act kids, or other young people in this community. I want all young people in the community to have a full and fair opportunity to get that college education. We are not going to be competitive in this international economy if we don't increase the college attainment of our workforce. Again, I'll leave divisive policies for others. As mayor of this city, I'll embrace the policies that support our long-term economic strength.
Ted Simons: The last point on this: A work permit equals in-state status for tuition. Correct?
Greg Stanton: I believe so, yes, that is correct.
Ted Simons: If you're authorized and you get a work permit, wouldn't these folks get the in-state tuition, regardless of what the Governor has ordered?
Greg Stanton: I'll let those much smarter than I, who are lawyers in the field of immigration, tell you the legal answer to that. The position I'm going to take is what's in our economic interests. So I'm going to support public policies that maximize the chances for our young people to achieve their dream of a college education, and more importantly to achieve what's in the best long-term economic interests of this community. We've got to be smart about public policy, if Arizona is going to compete in the international economy, that's exactly what I plan to do.
Ted Simons: The impact of a possible merger, US Airways and American Airlines. What are you seeing there? How is it going to hit Phoenix and the Valley and Sky Harbor in particular? What's going on here?
Greg Stanton: Mayor Mitchell of Tempe and I are friends and colleagues and partners. Together we met with Doug Parker and the leadership team at US Airways to ask those very questions to let them know that, hey, the public should know your plans are if the merger is successful. Mr. Parker is clear the merger is not a done deal and they have to go through bankruptcy court, and there are a lot of steps along the way that have to occur. If in fact the merger occurs, Phoenix Sky Harbor will be the key western regional hub for this new airline. As you know, there's consolidation going on in the airline industry. It's critically important we that keep those flights going in and out of Sky Harbor. Because our success in business internationally and nationally is directly related to how well we provide air service in our region. The commitment to keep Phoenix as a western regional hub is very important to keep business here in Phoenix.
Ted Simons: What about jobs lost, perhaps some jobs gained?
Greg Stanton: We don't know. I think the agreement was made with American if the merger goes through, the corporate leaders, the corporate headquarters would be in Texas. We asked for and received a commitment that, as they consolidate operations, Phoenix and Tempe would have a fair opportunity to compete for those jobs. That's what we want. We want an opportunity to compete. If we get a fair opportunity, I believe that this region will successfully compete. I've been dealing a lot with the aerospace and defense industry. There's a lot of consolidation going on in that industry. When I talk to corporate leaders, I say, as you consolidate, think about Phoenix as a region that is business friendly and ready to have your expanded operations. We’ve been successful in that regard. I view what's going on with US Airways is the same exact opportunity. If given the opportunity to compete, our region will compete successfully.
Ted Simons: Last question, broken nose: How did that happen? What's going on there?
Greg Stanton: Well, you know, I played high school basketball. I still haven't fully given up my hoop dreams. I was offered a great opportunity to play with some outstanding professional basketball players in this area, the Phoenix Mercury our two-time champion Phoenix Mercury. I took that opportunity and I thought they were going to take it easy on me. That was not the case. I ended up with exactly what I deserve, which is a broken nose by an outstanding power forward named Nakiya Sanford. I was waiting for the rebound, the ball was coming and I see the shadow rising over me. She grabbed the ball and her elbow ended up on my nose. So I was trying to get them a little publicity. I had no idea how much I was going to get over this. You know what? Injuries are part of the game and I accepted that, and I was out on the court, and that’s what comes with it.
Ted Simons: I gotta tell you, the mayor of phoenix, this is a high-risk job. Mayor Phil Gordon falling out of a tree a few years ago, and now you're breaking your nose. Goodness gracious. What’s going on in that office?
Greg Stanton: I would never want to be critical of a past mayor. But it's much cooler to be injured playing hoops than it is falling out of a tree, Mayor Gordon, if you're watching.
Ted Simons: Alright, we will leave it at that. Mayor, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Greg Stanton: Thanks for having me on.