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Freshly returned from Cuba, fellow Trojan Adena Andrews, who has written for ESPNW, and CBS Sports, talks about the New York Knicks and her life-changing trip. Despite falling to the bottom-feeding Wizards (our interview was recorded before the game), the new-look Knicks have been showing signs of improvement. During the Knicks discussion, Adena addresses the team’s integration process given so many offseason changes, Kristaps Porzingis’ burgeoning New Yorkness and what the Zen Master brings to the organization, occasional controversy and all. Later, her enlightening journey to Cuba provides extraordinary insight into historical events and how they’ve shaped today’s Cuba. Adena also explains her newfound closeness with the foreign land and many of its people. Enjoy some excerpts below:


1:56-2:25: “I think I’m kind of like every other Knicks fan. We start the season and we’re like, ‘Oh yeah! We’re gonna win the chip! It’s gonna be ours!’ I think that’s what New Yorkers do best: we overreact. Especially because the Knicks are really good at getting great names and getting us excited. That’s where I’m at. I’m at the ‘Bring on the second round of the playoffs because we haven’t seen it in so long’ place.”

2:42-2:56: “It seems like every year we have a new unit, and that’s our excuse. It’s like ‘We’re in a building year. We’re in a building year.’ We’ve built enough buildings here to populate downtown Manhattan.”

7:03-7:36: “[Porzingis] is a foreigner, and I really, really feel like he’s getting his official New York license right now. The other day on the court, he mouthed the words ‘F- outta here,’ and I was like, ‘That’s what New Yorkers say all the time’… I know at home, Porzingis is wearing Timbs and a Yankee fitted at all times. He is coming of age in his New York self and I’m loving it.”


24:49-25:14: “I felt like I was a part of history because I get to come back and be on a podcast or come back and tell all my friends and my coworkers just what a wonderful of a country Cuba is, how wonderful the people are. I’ll hopefully write my legislator and keep the conversation open between the countries and show that our ‘enemy’ (quote-unquote), what we used to think they were, they’re not so bad at all.”

25:56-26:52: “The culture experience that I really enjoyed the most, being an African American here, was learning about the African diaspora and how it exists in Cuba. In the triangle trade of slavery, Cuba and the Caribbean was just one stop and the U.S. South was another stop. And how much I actually had in common with the Cubans. For example, I saw some Cubans who were doing stepping, and I’m part of a historically black sorority and one of our traditions is we step. It’s called body percussion. They were doing the same exact steps that I learned at USC in college. It just makes you feel more connected, it makes you feel not so lost in this world and not so without culture. So it was humbling, and it was enlightening to see that kind of stuff.”

27:52-28:02: “At the end of the day, we’re just all so similar, it’s not even funny. Everyone, black, white. If we saw that in each other, the world would be a better place honestly.”

32:13-33:20: “As an African American, unless you read up on your history, all you’re gonna get is Martin Luther King, and not even Harriet Tubman in school… And then you feel just disconnected. You wonder, ‘Who am I and what am I made up of?’ So when you go to these places, you actually get a better sense of self, and know that there’s something larger than you, that you can withstand the harshest atrocities that are put up against you. You feel grounded and you feel connected to something definitely. I was in Jamaica once and this guy told me: ‘I and I is one people. You may not be my neighbor, but you’re my brother.’ You may be oceans away from me, but you’re still my brother in some shape or form. And that’s how I felt in Cuba.”

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod