After 20 sensational years, the WNBA should be the league which gives you the financial freedom as a player to not have to play anywhere else.
For more than 20 year, the players in the WNBA have been playing top quality basketball. Yet, after 20 years, most players are still having to play overseas to make ends meet. This has quite simply got to change.
As a fan base, we are now into watching our third generation of players within this league. Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley all started out giving this league tremendous star power from the first couple of years.
The next generation of stars to come through were players of the ilk of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor and Tamika Catchings to name but a few. These players continued on the development of the league. Their play was nothing short of amazing but they still had to play overseas to make ends meet. This shortened the career of Lauren Jackson and has meant numerous seasons where the worlds top talent has had to sit out for rest.
Fast forward to the current generation of players and they are still facing the same problem. Rookie of the Year Breanna Stewart had to return from a stint overseas due to injury. Players missed the start of the season due to commitments to other clubs around the world. Yes they were winning titles but that is not the point.
The WNBA should be set up so they can be the league you play in for financial security. Diana Taurasi, the WNBA scoring record holder should not have to play in Russia with Brittney Griner and Bird to keep making a living.
It is not the product which is the problem here. The WNBA is showcasing a talent level which any league around the world would be happy to have.
For those who watch the league, every time we see Seattle play we see a so called unicorn. Breanna Stewart is a player who can hit the three, protect the rim and do all the things the men’s game is screaming for their centers to do. Wait, Tina Charles has a similar skill set, so does Jonquel Jones and Elena Delle Donne.
In an era where the NBA is about position less basketball and floor spacing, the WNBA is already playing this style. Yes, there are more dunks in an NBA game than the 15 in the history of the WNBA but I prefer the flow and ball movement you see in the WNBA.
I have never seen Stephen Curry dunk a ball in a game and yet he is a back-to-back MVP of the NBA. We love the range of his shot and the moves he has to make to get through the bigger players and score. The WNBA has all of that.
The WNBA needs to get more money into the teams, to get players to be paid better. I know WNBA president Lisa Borders is working tirelessly to make this happen but corporate America needs to step up here. If this does not happen, rich leagues like the Russian league will continue take some of the best years of the top players.
So I call on all basketball fans, journalists, bloggers and fans of sport in general. Let us make the WNBA a priority this season. Let us support the amazing basketball played and get the league into a position where they can pay the players what they are worth. Let us make the WNBA the league you play where you make your living, not just another league.
The only reason I ask this is because they deserve this respect.