By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Spain came before the United States in taking on COVID-19, and still are.

Leslie Knight grew up in Hopkins, and now plays professional basketball in Spain, which she now calls it her year-round home.

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She jumped onto the basketball page at Hopkins High school, then moved on the Gophers, and eventually found a new home in Spain.

“I was really excited about it because I minored in college in Spanish, so I thought, ‘Wow, if I can combine playing basketball with improving my Spanish, perfect,'” Knight said.

She adjusted well, met a police officer who became her husband, and Spain became her new home.

“We actually got married in 2017, and he’s Spanish, he’s from Madrid. So I speak it every day. Never thought that this would be my life, but it is now, and I can’t complain,” Knight said.

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And that has also put her near the genesis of COVID-19.

“We haven’t been canceled officially, but it’s not looking good,” Knight said. “I was taking the metro with thousands of people every day, going to the gym, thinking it was no big deal. And now I don’t even get close to the metro. I wear a mask when I go to the grocery store and wear my rubber gloves. Everybody’s taking it very seriously now.”

They have adjusted to the new life, if only temporarily.

“[People] avoid each other on the sidewalks, which is very not Spanish because here in Spain people are together always. But we’re really trying to keep our distance, and you only leave the house for bare essentials,” she said.

And she keeps tabs on Minnesota, on her Gophers, now coached by people she played with, and for, in her days.

“Kelly Roysland is there as an assistant, and she was my maid of honor in my wedding, and I couldn’t be happier for her and for Coach [Lindsay] Whalen and for Danni O’Banion, because she was there when I was a player,” Knight said.

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Mike Max