WNBA Once Again Must Find A New President After Borders' Departure
The WNBA must search for its third president this decade after Lisa Borders announced she will step down, and the league could "tap into a generation of its best corporate leaders, taking those who have succeeded at the team level and promoting them," according to Howard Megdal of the N.Y. TIMES. Minnesota Lynx VP/Business Operations Carley Knox, Knicks Senior VP/Business Operations Kristin Bernert, Indiana Fever President Kelly Krauskopf and Seattle Storm President & GM Alisha Valavanis "would all fit the bill." The WNBA also has a "generation of players who could serve as a well-known, public-facing leader of the league." A president with playing experience could be "particularly helpful at this moment in league history, with the players’ union facing an Oct. 31 deadline to opt out" of the current CBA. It is widely believed that the union will do so, "setting off a new negotiation while the CBA remains in effect until the conclusion of next season." But hiring a new leader may be tricky because how the league defines success "remains unclear," which makes "defining the president's role difficult." ESPN's Rebecca Lobo said, "Lisa was a terrific president. She was smart, liked by the players, had good business acumen and was media savvy. The next president will need to have similar attributes. This is going to be an important hire" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/3). ESPN's Rachel Nichols said, "Let's hope the WNBA can find a replacement quickly and someone who lives up to the precedent that Lisa Borders set. She has been phenomenal and would, of course, like to avoid a potential lockout for this league that's been on the rise" ("The Jump," ESPN, 10/2).
GIVE THEM POWER: ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel wrote the next person hired to run the WNBA should be someone who has as much "actual power" as Commissioner Adam Silver has in the NBA. The WNBA product has "never been better," but its business plan, marketing, strategy and communications all have to "rise to that level." This is an "opportunity to solidify WNBA leadership by hiring people who are given enough authority, responsibility and resources to make these 'destination' jobs that people want to have for a long time." It is "imperative to empower whoever is leading the WNBA." That "hasn't seemed to be a goal of the NBA, let alone a priority" (ESPN.com, 10/2).