Why We Don’t Care About the WNBA
The WNBA is now in their 15th year. Congrats. Sure there’s growing pains and setbacks, you’ve had various teams shutdown, several teams upstart, it’s a whirlwind affair. Let’s take a look at why no one still cares about the WNBA.
DO YOU KNOW THE NAME OF YOUR CITY’S WNBA TEAM?
That’s what I thought. It’s hard to get this one right. It’s not really your fault, most of the teams aren’t in the mainstream media. We don’t hear about them on TV often (even when they’re in the finals!). Also, the team names are pretty cheesy. I know they didn’t have many things to go off of at this point, but.. let’s look at some of the names of WNBA teams
Connecticut Sun – Really? You’re going to call yourself the SUN. Thought we had that team already, ohhh yeah we do, it’s called the Phoenix Suns. I must however give them some credit, Connecticut doesn’t have much going on professional sports-wise.
San Antonio Silver Stars - Nothing personal against people from Texas, but why the F are all of your professional teams whoring out a g’damn STAR. The Cowboys, Texans, Spurs, Mavericks, Rangers all have stars in their logo.. and then you have the Dallas STARS, real creative, Texas.
Tulsa Shock- Shock.. hmm.. seems a tad inappropriate since 100 miles away is where the OK CITY bombing occurred. I do realize they just kept the name of the Detroit Shock, but still.. you can always rename a team.
Atlanta Dream- Only thing I dream about is not living in Atlanta. I mean, I’m sure someone was like “oh yeah, living in Atlanta is a dream!”.. no, it’s not…it’s a nightmare
Of course let us not forget some notable mentions of some of the failed franchises such as the Charlotte Sting (sounds like the aftermath of a Charlotte Hornet.. hmm) or the Utah Starzz (yes, 2 z’s).
BTW, it’s the Chicago SKY for us folks in Chicago.
DO THEY EVER DUNK THE DAMN BALL?
The league first started in 1996. The first slam dunk in the WNBA? Lisa Leslie in 2002. That’s not a typo, folks. The first slam dunk in the WNBA was literally 6 years after the inception of the league and 5 years after the first game. I can’t make stuff like this up, it’s on their stats page and also on wikipedia.
Let’s checkout the video
I’d have hoped for higher quality video in ’97 but anyways, it’s a fast break and Lisa Leslie, one of the best WNBA players of all time, goes out on a fast break and dunks the ball. Of course she’s excited afterwards primarily due to the fact that she knows it’s an epic moment in the WNBA but also because she knew she barely made it up there. Watch the clip.. she BARELY makes it up to dunk… and Lisa Leslie is tall (6’5″).
Simply put, they don’t dunk very often. Can they do it? Yes they have a few players who are tall enough to dunk, but you just don’t see it happen. I know they are trying to push towards a dunk-oriented league, but that shouldn’t be something you push towards. You should just have that understood from the get go. I guess they finally are realizing that people want to see slam dunks because they are a fairly exciting maneuver in basketball. Bring in some women with hops please.
I DON’T SEE THEM JUMPING VERY OFTEN
It’s actually kind of true. A lot of the women take layup shots with very little jumping involved. It’s pretty puzzling, overall. A tidbit of info that you might find interesting is that the first goaltending call occurred in 2008. Yes, thats 11 years after the first game of WNBA. The way I look at this stat is that no one gave an F about playing defense on/around the hoop such as a blocked shot, stuff, etc. I guess another way to look at it is the women don’t tend to take too many shots that aren’t off the backboard or close range.
A LOT OF THESE WNBA PLAYERS LOOK AND TALK LIKE MEN
As I already stated, I watched the ALL-STAR WNBA game this year and I was sometimes a tad distracted by writing this blog. I remember at one point I walked away to grab a drink and heard a sportscaster ask one of the players how they felt the game was going. I honestly thought it was a dude at first. I don’t want to offend Liz Cambage but she sounded really deep and unfortunately looked very manly. I feel bad even saying it, but it’s true. I know this isn’t always the case, but.. that’s what I saw and that’s what I’m going to mention .. because it kind of scared me.
I mean I can think of at least 1 player that doesn’t look or talk like a dude. I mean I actually had to look this up, because I couldn’t really name her off the top of my head but I remembered seeing a player who struck me as “non-dude looking”. Penny Taylor was her name.
That’s as good as it gets. That’s her in the “in game” look. She’s no Hope Solo but we gotta work with what we got, folks.
DO THEY FOUL PEOPLE
Yeah of course they do. It’s just not as hard as the fouls you see in the NBA or as dramatic. Some NBA players have acting degrees.. ok, I’ll just show it before I go any further
Yah, he was a paraplegic only to magically run back onto the court 3-4mins later. Now, you don’t get much of that in the WNBA primarily because the contact isn’t as rough. Since contact isn’t as rough and flagrant, you’re not getting as hard of fouls and drama. It’s sad, but I’ve spoken to a few people who don’t like the fact that the WNBA isn’t as rough or flagrant in the defensive department as the NBA. Not sure if that can change, really, unless you get some really bad seeds in the WNBA wreaking havoc.
ARE THE GAMES ON TV?
Kinda. I mean, you have ABC/NBC airing a few games here and there. Mind you, each team plays 34 regular season games and the past few years, there haven’t been more than a handful of games aired on tv. Fear not, however, because they have a LiveAccess feature off their website which allows you to watch all their non-tv-aired games online. Cool feature, and I think it’s free. This reminds me of Blackhawks hockey prior to 2008-9. For decades Chicago fans had no exposure to the games and therefore attendance was piss-poor. It didn’t help that we sucked for quite a few of those years, but regardless, putting a team on tv and pushing it on the fans is a great way to develop your fan base. I’m sure if they started airing more games, we’d get more fans on the WNBA.
Well, I don’t mean to put down the WNBA because I like women. I do, it’s true. If the women of the WNBA started playing NBA-esque basketball, fouling harder, maybe causing some drama like having a few hard-hitting players or a few super hot women who are all over the news for doing randomly promiscuous or lavish lifestyle-like things, they might get some higher ratings. One of the biggest things I remember of the WNBA is a fight between the Sparks and the Shock, it was pretty cool and it was all over the news. It was more newsworthy than most other sports at the time for crying out loud. We don’t want the basic boring basketball we used to watch in the 50′s… we want the basketball we see in the NBA. We want some leaders who are vocal and perhaps controversial. We’re Americans, we like our sports ridiculously action-packed and larger than life. If the WNBA wants to attract the middle-aged men who watch most sports, follow these tidbits and you’ll help your cause.
Here’s another picture of Penny Taylor.