There may be no other Mystic player that was more excited for Ariel Atkins to join Team USA for the Toyko Olympics than Myisha Hines-Allen. And as close friends off the court, Hines-Allen always wanted to check in on her.
The only problem with that -- aside from Atkins needing to focus on winning Team USA's seventh straight gold medal -- was the time difference. Tokyo time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time.
Hines-Allen couldn't recall how many times she called Atkins in the middle of the night just to see how she was doing. One of the worst ill-timed calls, though, was the time leading up to the Gold Medal Game.
"One time actually was right before their gold game actually, and I was actually in the gym and I was like, 'Oh, let me call [Ariel] real quick,'" Hines-Allen told reporters on Tuesday. "I'm like, 'oh so what time do y'all play' because we didn't know [if] it was like 10:30, 12:00, like whatever time it was.... So I call her and it's pitch black in there and I'm like oh she must be sleeping and I'm like, 'so what time do y'all play?' She's like 'in 12 hours' I'm like, 'oh, my bad, my bad. Focus, I'll call you back later.' But I feel bad to be honest."
Atkins and Hines-Allen both hail from the Mystics' 2018 draft class. They were rookies together and are the only two players on the roster to play all four seasons since. Their relationship even goes all the way back to when they were in high school.
They've developed a bond over that time and were planning on taking a vacation to Jamaica together during the Olympic break. That is, of course, well before Atkins knew she was going to be a part of Team USA.
As the time drew closer, Hines-Allen was pushing to book the vacation to get cheaper rates. Atkins kept asking her to hold off.
"Then she's like, 'Don't hate me. I can't go to Jamaica,'" Hines-Allen said of Atkins. "And I'm like, 'This better be a good reason.' And she's like, 'I just made the Olympic team,' and I was like, 'Oh my God. Yeah, you're good, you're good.'"
Nevertheless, that didn't stop Hines-Allen from going to Jamaica during the break. A one-hour time difference from Eastern Time didn't really help her keep track of Atkins' sleep schedule.