MAMA’S GOT A ‘BAG, Jan. 14

She’s kind of a big deal these days, but Fatima Smith, also known as Michael Beasley’s mother and “Mama Sayz” around these parts, is back. She wanted to stay connected with the Kansas State community, and you can’t say no to family, can you?

So here’s the format – this week, we lobbed her a few softballs, just so she could work her way back into the groove. But this is supposed to be interactive, so the questions in the future will come from you. Here’s the catch – if you don’t ask questions, you won’t see her ‘Bag, which is short for mailbag. Get it? No mail, no answers, no Fatima.

Questions can be submitted below in the comments, or, if you want to be subtle – and I can’t imagine why – they can be sent to me at jmartin@wichitaeagle.com or jmartin@kcstar.com. Just make sure to write “Mama’s Bag” in the subject heading.

OK, enough from me. Here’s Fatima:

1. Ms. Smith, it’s been a while. Why don’t you catch us up on what’s been going on?

Wow! Why so formal? Just call me Fatima… or Mama for short. LOL! You’re right, it has been a while. How do you catch people up with so many dramatic changes? The kids are still the same and doing fine. They love it here in Miami although I must say that Malik and Little Miss Tiffany talk about Manhattan, Kan., all of the time. They really want to come back and visit… I just have to figure how to juggle everything around to make that happen. Oh, how could I forget! I have a new addition to the family – and no, it’s not another dog. My 16-year-old niece has joined us. It’s really good for Mychaela to have someone her own age in the house, especially starting a new school. So, I can honestly say that I have no “major” complaints at this moment…

2. Explain the differences, good and bad, between Miami and Manhattan.

O.K., let me see if I can do this “properly.” When I relocated to both Manhattan and Miami, it was pretty much the same sort of situation where I was moving to a strange place where I knew probably a handful – and that’s being generous – of people prior to me arriving. The weather is totally gorgeous here in Miami. There are plenty of place to shop and dine. I think I have four major malls within a four-mile radius of my house. There are both private and public beaches that we can access at any time, too. We’re approximately 3.5 hours from Orlando and maybe a 45-minute drive to the Florida Keys… I guess you get my point that there are plenty of things to do here.

With all of that said, when I was back in Manhattan, I felt cozy and safe like I was tucked in a warm comfy bed. I liked going places and seeing familiar faces… Not only people that I knew by name but people who just had friendly spirits. I enjoyed the times I spent at the only mall in town and if I felt the need to change things up, taking a road trip gave me time to meditate and let my mind be free… literally. I know this is going to sound crazy but I even miss going to work and socializing with people on a regular basis, both co-workers and patients. I look forward to having people come in town to visit but for some reason people think that living in Miami means that you are walking around in bikinis and sitting down at South Beach 24 hours a day, which is far from the truth. When I first arrived here in Miami, I thought to myself, ‘For a town to be so BIG and populated with millions of people, this is the loneliest place that I have ever lived.’ But now my days are so full with taking care of any and everything that I don’t know how I make time to get to the Heat games, which is a must!

3. What’s the funniest NBA-related story you can share with us?

Hmmm, let me think about this for a second…

When Michael brought Mario Chalmers over to the house for the first time, Tiffany ran up to Michael to give him his usual hugs and kisses. I’m not sure if she recognized Mario or if Michael told her that he played for the Jayhawks but she looked over at him and said as loud and clear as she could, “JAYHAWKS SUCK! BOO!” Both Mario & Mike could do nothing but crack up laughing.

But outside of Michael and her new “crush” Daequan Cook, Mario is her favorite person on the team and she now gives him hugs and kisses just like she does when Michael comes around…