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SBD/April 27, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Laurel Richie Formally Introduced As WNBA's New President
Published April 27, 2011
as WNBA President
NBA Commissioner David Stern formally introduced new WNBA President Laurel Richie via a media conference call yesterday afternoon. “We think
TAKING THE REINS: In Hartford, John Altavilla notes Richie will try to "use her business initiative and acumen to take the league to more secure financial ground," and she is "expected to lead the effort to secure more corporate sponsorships." Richie said, "Working with iconic brands has been a passion of mine. And I have a track record of re-energizing and revitalizing them. I love to wrap my brain around complex businesses, as I would characterize the WNBA." Altavilla notes Richie is the "first African-American, male or female, to assume the presidency of one of the nation's premier professional sports leagues." She was "first identified as a candidate after serving as a keynote speaker for an event in Seattle in February" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/27). Stern yesterday said, "We found somebody who was ... culturally adept at understanding what impact the game and the players could have on the community, the global community. My own basketball background was ripping up my ACL in a lawyers' league. So I don't think it's essential to have played the game at a high level at all" (TULSA WORLD, 4/27). In Connecticut, Joe Perez notes with an "eye toward increased ratings and attendance as well as international growth, the WNBA wants to forge its own identity, one that’s not seen as the NBA’s pet project." Stern said, "I think that for the early years, the women’s game was measured against the men’s game. That was something we struggled against. What we have here is the best women’s basketball in the world." He added, "No one usually compares (tennis’ Caroline) Wozniacki against Rafael Nadal. She wouldn’t do that well" (NORWICH BULLETIN, 4/27).