Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.
Last year, I introduced young Mikaela Dokes in a fun interview with her and her dad Walter. Since then, I have followed her on the Mikaela Dokes Athlete Facebook Page.
Despite her young age, Mikaela is a very talented basketball player. She is also very dedicated and passionate about basketball. You can see some of her practice routines in the interview below.
Last year, Walter took Mikaela to a Notre Dame Women's Basketball game. After the game, she met several players including Dara Mabrey.
Dara is the third Mabrey sibling to play for the Fighting Irish. Sister Michaela and Marina also played at Notre Dame. Marina has gone on to play in the WNBA, while Michaela returned to ND as an assistant.
Mikaela has only started meeting and connecting with women athletes. I'm sure as the years pass, Mikaela will continue on her basketball path and famous athletes will want to meet her!
Mikaela was very excited to meet Dara and the other Notre Dame players. They were just as happy to meet her. This is such a great moment in the effort to grow the game. Moments like these make fans for life. I'm not just talking about Mikaela being a fan. I was familiar with Dara from covering Marina in the WNBA, but now I am an even bigger fan. Athletes like this realize how important it is to make these connections with the future players and fans.
I have no doubt Mikaela will some day play on a college court and I know she will do her best to grow the game, too. After all, like Mikaela says, "the future is female." Those are wise words from a very talented, intelligent young athlete.
Dara Mabrey, Mikaela Dokes and Sam Brunelle in South Bend, IN-February 2022.