The Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards or LA Lakers: these names are from NBA teams. How about the Minnesota Lynx, Washington Mystics or LA Sparks? You’ve probably never heard any of them and for a while I hadn’t either. But we all should be paying attention because otherwise there is some great basketball that we’re missing.
The Minnesota Lynx, Washington Mystics and LA Sparks are from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The WNBA has been around since 1996 and started with eight teams. Today there are twelve. The 2017 regular season started on May 13 and ended on September 3. The season overlaps two months with the NBA season so that basketball fans will have something to watch in the off season. The big questions is: why is the WNBA still unpopular?
The big thing that made it unpopular is the fact that most basketball fans are male and do not want to watch female players. Some men think that females are just not as exciting to watch as males in terms of sports because of athleticness, competitiveness and action. There is also a lot of sexism in the industry. The NBA spends 135.8 million on advertising while the WNBA gets barely anything. ESPN–the channel the both leagues show on, shows the NBA frequently while the WNBA is shown about once week. The top NBA salary is 11.4 million compared to the top WNBA salary which is $95 thousand which is also the maximum of salary of the league. The WNBA teams lose half of their money with only $25 million and make more from the Revenue of the NBA. The WNBA barely has enough money to pay Steph Curry’s Salary of 11.4 million. Some women’s rights are even broken in sports in general. These women deserve more.
While some people may think that males are more athletic than females, the WNBA proves them wrong. These women push themselves everyday. The games can be very intense with some great shots. Also there have been gigantic women who have played the game. One of the player’s was Malgrozata ‘ Margo’ Dydek who stood at 7 foot 2 and led the WNBA in blocks with 877. Lisa Leslie is best known as the first woman to dunk in the league. She became a symbol for the WNBA and got a spot in the Women’s Basketball hall of fame and the Basketball Hall of Fame which include players of both genders. Even with a maternity leave most players get back into the sport as fast as possible.
In basketball, the women may not dunk as often as men but they still offer some amazing plays that can wow a crowd. When I was watching a game, the women played a fast-paced very physical game. The highlights were mostly “and ones” and many blocks. These two actions are also very popular in the NBA and crowds love them. There are also favourite teams in the WNBA; right now they are the LA Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx. The Sparks have won three out of twenty championships and The Lynx have won four.
I started watching the WNBA when some highlights appeared in my Youtube Recommended feed. I think the WNBA offers an amazing professional basketball league during the off season of the NBA. The play style is quite different but is still very enjoyable that fans of all genders will like. I still think there is some sexism in sports that is getting in the way of our enjoyment of great games and athletes and hope this improves soon.