Our second Surge Spotlight is Brittany Carter, a 29 year old St. Louis native. Today’s spotlight is extra special because it’s Brittany’s birthday! Join us in sending the happiest birthday wishes to @bncarter_6 on Instagram. In addition to seven seasons overseas, Brittany has played five seasons with the Surge. In the following interview, Brittany shares how she became a lights-out shooter, why she plays basketball, her journey with meditation, and more.
(The following interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity).
Britt, what’s a brief intro to who you are and what your experience has been playing for the city you grew up in?
I grew up in St. Louis as one of six. My parents stuck with a “B-r” name trend so it’s me, Brandon, Bret, Brooke, Bridget, and Bryan. I have played five seasons with the Surge and there’s nothing like playing for my home city. I love being able to play in front of family and friends. On top of that, the way the Surge operate, treat us, and attract a fanbase is better than a lot of overseas leagues.
You are a fan favorite. What does it feel like to be so loved and appreciated by our fan base?
Honestly, the joy on other people’s faces is why I play this sport. The biggest thing for me is putting on a show for other people and seeing their smiles and hearing their cheers. When we see fans after games and they say “Brittany Carter, oh my gosh!” or “wow, there’s Kelsey McClure!”, it makes me so happy because I know they just had an amazing experience. They loved the game, and hopefully they now have dreams of doing something in the world that will get that much excitement from other people.
You are in your 11th professional season, having played in Australia, Germany, Finland, and the Czech Republic. First of all, that’s incredible. Second, talk about some of the sacrifices you’ve made to play professionally and to do it for as long as you have.
There are a lot of sacrifices. Basketball has been amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing, but most of the time, it doesn’t provide you with everything you need to take care of yourself. I’ve sacrificed by working three to four jobs in between seasons, just to provide for myself, my family, and my future. When I’m overseas, I’m sacrificing not being around family. Day in and day out, you sacrifice the time and energy that goes into taking care of your body. I’ve changed my diet over the years. I can’t eat McDonald’s anymore. When I’m working three to four jobs at a time, I’m still waking up earlier to work out and working out again after work. Every day revolves around basketball. It’s all sacrifices, but I would never change that because I love that I’ve been able to do this for as long as I have.
Despite those sacrifices, why have you been doing this for 11 years? How much does playing basketball mean to you?
It means everything to me. People tell me that I smile too much when I play, but don’t you want to do something that makes you happy all the time? Regardless of the grind and the bad days, once I get out there shouldn’t I be having a blast? My love for the game, my family, and seeing the fans that love and appreciate what I’m doing keep me going.
Last year, you were 1 of 44 athletes, among WNBA players like Lexie Brown and Natasha Cloud, chosen to compete in the inaugural season for Athletes Unlimited Basketball (AU). What was your initial reaction when you found out you had the opportunity to play in this league?
I was on cloud nine. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and it’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in the states, as far as getting to play with players of that caliber. Natasha Cloud is the reason I was picked, because her trainer and I are good friends. He mentioned my name to her and the rest is history, so thank you James Clark.
Again, you’ve been with the Surge for 5 seasons: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, and the current 2022 squad. What stands out to you about this season’s team?
There has never been a team that’s gotten along this well and done it so quickly.We are just in tune with each other and love being around each other so much. The other difference with this team is that most of us are coming from college, and the jump from college to pros is ridiculous. It’s taking time to really learn how to trust each other on the court, especially because the GWBA has solid teams across the board this year.
Was there ever a moment where you explicitly decided “I’m going to be a great shooter”?
Yes. Around the beginning of COVID a coach with the Connecticut Sun, Kurt Miller, told me that they needed a shooter. By telling me I can make it if I became a great shooter, he gave me a boost in confidence. After he told me that, I spent my entire summer doing nothing but shooting drills.
Can you talk more about that summer? What did it take to grow from an average shooter to who you are now, which is a player who shoots the ball and has the entire gym expecting it to go in?
COVID was the best thing for my career. I was lucky enough to have a friend in Colombia, MO who owned an old arcade with basketball courts in the back. I was working four days a week at Amazon, and the other three I drove up to Columbia and worked out non-stop. I worked out at 6 AM, ate, and went straight back at 9 AM. I was going to the gym three to four times a day, for at least an hour every single time. I was enjoying my job at Amazon, but I quit because those three days weren’t enough. I moved to Columbia and my three day workout turned into seven days a week.
I’m assuming you had taken it up a notch or a few that summer. Was this all kickstarted by your conversation with Kurt Miller?
Yes, that absolutely turned on a little fire in me because I’ve had dreams and aspirations to put a (WNBA) jersey on and say I’ve made it. To hear that I could potentially be good enough was all I needed to say “alright, now we got to turn it up even higher”.
Who has impacted your game and the growth of your game the most?
People don’t know this, but they should know this: it’s Jacq on our team. I have to give her a shoutout. She is a player, mentor, and coach all at once. She is always trying to learn about the game and she has transformed my leadership approach. Right now, one of my goals is to defend better. I’m pretty slow laterally and sometimes I tend to use my length instead of my body to cut people off, so I am really focused on my defense. Jacq is injured and she spent an entire practice figuring out what I’m doing right and wrong on the defensive end and sent me a text on little things I could work on. That’s only the start of it. This girl is incredible.
We have two returners and eight newbies. Having played both here and overseas, you are obviously one of our returners and vets. How have you stepped into a leadership role this year?
Being the oldest one on the team, I have a totally different leadership role than what I’m used to. I am more of a constant vocal leader and I get into people when they need to be held accountable. I’m learning as I’m doing, but Kelsey and Jacq keep me grounded. They are some of the greatest leaders I’ve worked with.
I watched your Get Ready With Me on our TikTok and I noticed you meditate. How long have you been meditating and what’s your experience with meditation?
It has been a game changer for me. I attempted to start a meditation practice in the past, but my mind would go so crazy. I would be 10 seconds in and I would start going through my schedule for the day, so I never stuck with it. I tried in Finland and again in the Czech Republic, but shoutout to Bianca Latham for inspiring me to try again this season. She basically told me I was too scatterbrained and needed to calm down. There are times where my brain just does not stop because I have too much going on and too many things to think about in terms of how I can keep elevating my life. I was struggling to sleep for a while, but my morning meditation routine has been so helpful. I don’t touch my phone until I meditate. I focus on my breath or do breathing techniques and I feel relaxed and at ease to start my day.
Mental health is something that should be taken seriously. If you’re ever struggling, you should seek help, and if you are too afraid to seek help, try some of the techniques like breathing, meditation, or waking up every morning and writing down three things that you’re grateful for. Especially at this time, mental health is something that needs to be catered to and spoken about.
Are there other routines you have to help you mentally prepare for games?
First, I break down film to get an understanding of personnel. Then, before my pregame nap, I envision things I want to have happen on the court. I envision myself making a bucket or attacking and kicking to Kelsey, who knocks down a three. My one superstition is that everything has to go on the right side of my body first. My right sock goes on, then my left sock. My right leg sleeve goes on, then my left leg sleeve. Then, right shoe, left shoe, and so on.
How was coaching at Phenom Basketball?
I 100% love coaching. You see things differently as a coach than you do when you are on the court. It was another step in elevating my game, but it also built my understanding of the opportunity coaches have to teach kids more than the game. I’m gonna teach you how to play and we’re gonna play hard but at the end of the day, I’m going to teach you life lessons. I’m going to try to help you build your confidence because I know that’s huge with kids. They can struggle so much mentally and to me that was a challenge I was really excited to take.
You just started working in real estate! What company do you work for and how did you get into real estate?
I work for the Nett Group in Chesterfield. I am licensed in Missouri and I can help you out with all your needs, buying, selling and investing. My real estate adventure started from loving HGTV. I had real estate in the back of my mind for a few years and my last week at AU I got COVID. I missed all the fun stuff, but the week I spent in quarantine I started looking up real estate opportunities around St. Louis. After AU, I knew I was going to play for the Surge, but what else was I going to do? Again, I can’t sit still, so I had to find something else.
Awesome. For the last set of questions, let’s play word association. I’ll say a word and then you tell me the first thing you think of that is associated with the given word.
Surge → lightning
Parrot → bird
Kelsey (McClure) → best friend
Dairy-free → milk
Brick building → office
WashU → home
St. Louis → home. Wait, am I allowed to say “home” twice?
Brittany lights up the gym with her threes and her energy. She is hilarious and light-hearted, yet incredibly driven and growth-oriented. We have loved seeing Brittany evolve as a player and leader over the past 5 seasons and are so grateful she is #Surge2022. Keep your eye out for our next Surge Spotlight this Sunday!