There will be more for Monique Billings to play for than a WNBL championship.
Each time she takes the court for the Fire, she said she would be doing so to honour her father’s legacy.
Townsville’s newest import from the WNBA has had a delayed introduction to the region, having remained in the United State to mourn the loss of her “OG” Chuck.
As devastating as it was, Billings told the Townsville Bulletin in hotel quarantine that he was now serving as her inspiration for a dominant maiden campaign in Australia.
Monique Billings playing for the Atlanta Dream. Picture: Twitter
“He was my best friend, we talked every day so this season is carrying on his legacy,” Billings said.
“I can really rest in that. He equipped me with so much, he put me in a position to be bad arse. He’s been on this journey with me ever since; it’s a blessing I’ve been on this path and he helped me along the way.”
Billings will have limited time to settle into the Fire’s system, not due to leave isolation until December 5 — six days before her new side opens their account against the Adelaide Lightning.
But the power forward is well equipped to find her groove in quick time, having played in nine different countries already. The fact she is playing overseas on an English speaking side is, by her own admission, a unique bonus.
“Basketball is very universal, the key is to get buckets and that’s a universal thing,” Billings said.
“Body language is another thing, if you have bad body language people can sense it and if you have happy body language people sense that too.
“I’ve been playing forever and I’ve played in so many different places. Sometimes you finish a WNBA season and then a few days later you’re in a whole different place.
“Having all these experiences add up. Learning how to be in these different cultures and blend in but be authentically me is the biggest take away I’ve had.”
Monique Billings. Picture: Twitter
Part of Billings’ appeal to Fire coach Shannon Seebohm when he signed the 25-year-old was her aggressive presence at the front of court.
It is an area in which he said upon her recruitment announcement they needed to strengthen with imports back in the WNBL.
Billings has showcased her athleticism time and again for the Atlanta Dream, and she knows there will be expectations for her to perform in an instance as the club’s marquee signing.
However she said what made the chance to work under Seebohm in Townsvilleso enticing was the way in which the club sought to hone in on the individual and what made them tick.
“Having people that see your potential and want to see the best and give you the best they can give you makes you want to be your best,’ Billings said.
“I’ve been in situations where it was the opposite, so it makes me appreciate this so much more. It’s a blessing and I can’t take that for granted.
“I know my role, I’m brought over here for a reason and have to honour that and acknowledge that.
“At the same time, I do want to get my feet wet, take my time with it and not be some demanding and not nice teammate because that’s not me.”