WNBA Seeing More NBA Players Speak Out In Support Of League
There is a "growing trend that has seen NBA players, coaches and the league itself continuing to increase its public support and encouragement of the WNBA and its players," according to Tyler Mason of THE ATHLETIC. LeBron James donning a Las Vegas Aces shirt on social media was the "latest example." Lakers G Josh Hart also "recently wore the jersey of his friend," Aces C A’ja Wilson. Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, “The NBA’s advocacy of our league is helping to kind of make it more socially acceptable, if you will, to wear a WNBA jersey if you’re a millennial, if you’re 20-30, that ESPN audience. ... There’s just so many ways that the NBA’s advocating for us in terms of their players.” Other high-profile NBAers have "made recent headlines in their support of the WNBA." Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard earlier this year said that WNBAers "deserve to be paid more." Suns C Deandre Ayton "spoke glowingly about his meeting" with Phoenix Mercury G Diana Taurasi. Kevin Garnett was a Lynx season-ticket holder during his T'Wolves days, while Kobe Bryant often "took his daughters to WNBA games." The "extent to which players are speaking out to show support seems to be increasing at a healthy rate" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/9).
CALL FOR ACTION: ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk said the Aces "took a stand" by not playing their game against the the Washington Mystics last Friday after travel delays. Youngmisuk said WNBA teams "need to start flying on charter flights" and "need to be treated like NBA teams." ESPN's Chris Haynes: "I don't know what ... the solution is because it's not apples to apples with the NBA and how much money they make, but you can't play in those conditions. I do believe they were making a stand" ("The Jump," ESPN, 8/8). In DC, Kevin Blackistone wrote under the header, "WNBA Players Are Still Treated Like Second-Class Citizens. It’s On The NBA To Fix That." WNBAers should "borrow some of the grit" from the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team, which "threatened a boycott that forced their federation to treat them more like the men." What the Aces "dared to do wasn’t narcissistic," it was "necessary." Their players' union "should opt out" of the CBA at season’s end "while this iron is hot, and get the NBA to the table to correct these basic concerns" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/9).