The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Why the WNBA Deserves the Sports World’s Respect

Tired of watching the same team go to the NBA finals? While the WNBA certainly has dynasties, the team basketball, passion, and overall watchability of the altruistic league has gone long overlooked. The WNBA has done nothing but attempt to serve communities and provide an outlet for female athletes, yet, has only been met with scrutiny, mockery, and contempt by sports fans. It is about time the sports community gave the WNBA the respect it deserves; here are four reasons why.

It is Quality Basketball

2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Draymond Green, said it best “In the NBA there’s always a guy who is only around because he can jump […] he doesn’t have a clue about the fundamentals. I learn more from the WNBA. They know how to dribble, how to pivot, how to use the shot fake.”

The WNBA prides itself on sound fundamental basketball, emphasizing teamwork, quality passing, and plenty of three-balls.

The league doesn’t aim to provide alley-oop dunks and isolation 1v1s, because that’s not how 99% of basketball is played outside of the NBA.

Fans must acknowledge that the WNBA and NBA are separate entities. To compare them as competing bodies, outshining one-another for the spotlight of premier basketball is ridiculous..

Hastily, fans toss aside the WNBA because it doesn’t present the same “quality of basketball” compared to the NBA. However, we don’t give that same treatment to high school and college basketball? Just like high school and college basketball, fans ideally grow to appreciate in WNBA in a similar regard. Not because it is necessarily the best demonstration of basketball, but because it offers a unique appeal, atmosphere, and performance that is not seen with its counterparts.

It’s Easy (and Cheap) to Watch

However ridiculous this point may sound; WNBA games are crazy cheap.

Because of the obvious fact that WNBA game tickets are not in high demand, any fan can afford to go to a game. (I once found suite tickets to Mystics for $6). That’s the same price as a bottle of kombucha.

During a time when it seems that every time you wanna go out and do something, you’re gonna pay +$10 dollars, everyone should appreciate the opportunity to go to a competitive professional sports game for less than $7.

Also, almost the whole season occurs during the NBA offseason. Stop complaining about the NBA shoving summer league and goddamn NBA 2k league games (oh god please stop this NBA) in your face and spend your lunch watching a conveniently timed 3pm Washington Mystics game.

The Players’ Love for the Game

Reigning WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles earned $109,000 last year. Crappy Wizards player (#FireErnie) Ian Mahinmi earned over $16,000,000 last season, and he sucks.

While obviously this proves that there is more money and interest in the NBA, it also displays WNBA players are not in it for the money. They play for the love of the game.

WNBA rookies often begin with a starting salary of $41,202; $20,000 less than the median U.S. household income. These women have worked and grinded to be some of the best female professional basketball players in the world. If they were just in it for the money, they could have used that same work ethic and grit they’ve demonstrated through basketball toward something more prosperous and comfortable. And who are to we mock and scrutinize a community of people who are living out their dreams with disregard for monetary wealth.

The Altruistic WNBA Community

Unlike many of its professional-league counterparts, the WNBA has maintained a clean and positive image.

The WNBA currently serves as one of the top platforms for women to play professional sports, inspiring girls at a young age with the message that they too can be a professional athletes in a male-dominated sports industry. Who wouldn’t love some more people playing hoops.

In 2014, the league even made an effort to launch LGBT-supporting campaign that promoted teams to participate in local pride events. While also working with advocacy groups to raise awareness and support for the LGBT community, the WNBA has proved to be the leader of social change in the professional sports world.

The WNBA is filled with great role models too: Mystics star and Special Olympics Ambassador Elena Delle Donne originally asked for a trade to Washington so she could be closer to home and with her disabled older sister. That’s MVP loyalty right there.

I hope the sports world can give the WNBA a shot. Any fan should take the opportunity to promote a organization that does nothing but exhibit the passion of the game of basketball and give young girls an image to achieve their dreams.

Catch me in my $6 Mystics suite.

-Mason

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