Love and Basketball, Sometimes Continents Apart

Andrea LeGrace Mingo and Danielle Robinson have known each other since 2004, when they were 15 and competing in the trials for the under-16 U.S.A. National Team in women’s basketball in Colorado Springs.

Ms. Mingo was friendly with everyone. Ms. Robinson was all business.

“She was there to make the team and go home,” said Ms. Mingo, who is known to friends as Drey. She decided, though, that they would become friends. “I was the nerdy, quirky kid that was going to make her talk to me,” she said, laughing.

The two would become good friends. They stayed in contact through high school and saw each other on the road at various travel basketball tournaments. Ms. Mingo played for Marist High School in Atlanta, while Ms. Robinson was on the team at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif.

They briefly lost contact leading up to college, but when Ms. Robinson heard that Ms. Mingo was sick with bacterial meningitis, she reached out to check up on her. Then they reconnected as professionals and never lost contact.

Ms. Mingo became a support system for Ms. Robinson, too, when she was injured while playing basketball in March 2016. Ms. Mingo was playing professional basketball for a team in Lublin, Poland, at the time.

“I had surgery on my Achilles’ tendon in 2016,” said Ms. Robinson, who was then with the San Antonio Stars of the Women’s National Basketball Association. “When I was down about my injury, she was that person who showed up for me. It didn’t matter the time difference, she was my person.”

Ms. Mingo also knew she had found someone to feel at ease with. “I realized that I was in love with Danielle when I felt safe to tell her all my deepest, darkest secrets,” she said. “She became the friend I didn’t want to go anywhere without. If there was one person I wanted to share an experience with, it was always her.”

Their first date was in Ms. Mingo’s hometown Atlanta in September 2016 at a restaurant called Barcelona Wine Bar. They dined on Spanish tapas while reconnecting.

“It was just catching up — and letting each other know we wanted to take our relationship to the next level,” said Ms. Robinson, who had traveled to Atlanta with her team to play the Atlanta Dream that week (Ms. Robinson was still injured and did not play).

Ms. Mingo continued to reside in Atlanta, and Ms. Robinson completed rehabbing her injury in San Antonio and was eventually traded to the W.N.B.A.’s Phoenix Mercury in 2017. Ms. Robinson still maintains a home in San Antonio, Texas, where she and Ms. Mingo now reside.

Ms. Robinson, 33, has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oklahoma and was drafted sixth over all in the 2011 W.N.B.A. Draft by the Stars. She has played for the Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury, Las Vegas Aces, and since 2021 the Indiana Fever. She also had off-season stints with professional European teams in Turkey, Hungary, Poland and Prague.

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Ms. Mingo, also 33, graduated in 2013 from Purdue. During her collegiate career, she suffered several injuries, in addition to the bacterial meningitis that caused her significant hearing loss. Despite these hardships, she continued her playing career overseas with Belgium and Poland for two years after a brief stint with the W.N.B.A.’s Washington Mystics. She now runs a nonprofit group for deaf children called Sounds of Serenity, and is a health adviser for the Calm wellness app.

On Aug. 6, 2017, Ms. Mingo drove up from Atlanta to see Ms. Robinson, now on the Phoenix Mercury, compete against the Washington Mystics. The couple went out after the game.

“I told Danielle that night, I was ready to be her girlfriend,” Ms. Mingo said.

“She looked at me and was like, ‘I’m ready.’ I was like, ‘for what?’” Ms. Robinson said, laughing.

They maintained a long-distance relationship for several years as Ms. Robinson traveled the globe for her basketball commitments. Late-night calls and early morning texts kept them connected while apart. Ms. Mingo traveled overseas with Ms. Robinson to Poland one summer, working late nights remotely and exploring the country together by day.

Around Christmas 2019, the couple embarked on a boat tour of the San Antonio River Walk with a group of friends. Ms. Robinson planned a private riverboat tour and traveled to a scenic part of the river under the pretense of taking a group photo. When Ms. Mingo got up for the photo, Ms. Robinson got down on one knee.

“I was bamboozled,” she recalled, laughing.

The couple were married Nov. 4 before about 150 guests at the Canyonwood Ridge, an events space in Dripping Springs, Texas, just outside of Austin. Sydney Colson, a W.N.B.A. player for the Las Vegas Aces and a former teammate of Ms. Robinson’s, was ordained by the Universal Life Church and officiated.

During the ceremony the couple passed their wedding rings around the gallery for their guests to pray over however they chose. In keeping with the theme of including their guests, they chose a color scheme that would honor those in attendance.

“We chose black-and-white as the theme because our friends bring the color to our lives,” Ms. Robinson said.

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