If you love basketball, you gotta love all of it

You don’t hear much from them anymore, because the WNBA is now over 12 years old. But they were the first group of fans that really annoyed me: the ones who had never watched women’s basketball in their lives but had suddenly “discovered” the game and were devoted WNBA fans. Yet, they didn’t watch college ball. Acted like they didn’t even know it existed. And they would probably never even consider catching a high school game. The only game, according to them, was the pro game.

The “college only” fans are irritating, too. They only care about a player once she gets there, and don’t think anything about what she’ll do after she leaves. Courtney Paris herself admitted last May that she hadn’t paid much attention to the league even as she was about to get drafted. That was pretty strange, but it exemplifies the attitudes of those who live in the college bubble.

The fans who only watch high school ball are the most easily forgiven, because that’s such a pure level for the sport. Entire communities turn out for girls and boys games because those are “their” kids, and they have personal ties and emotional investment. Even when high school girls are ignorant about some of the legends of the game and current college stars, I can sort of forgive them, because being a teenager in today’s world is no freakin joke.

But it’s time for women’s hoops fans to evolve and expand. I don’t expect people to be like me and be willing to go to any game, any level at any free moment. But I do expect women’s hoops fans to have more general knowledge and quit being so exclusive.

If you aren’t into a certain level of play, at least know what’s going on there. You don’t have to watch it, but know who the main players are. For example, if you’re a college person, keep track of who the good high school players are and who your team is looking at. Watch to see where your graduates get drafted in the WNBA. If you’re a W fan, know who is going to be available for you at the end of a season. If you’re a high school fan, pay attention to the colleges that might want your daughter, or that you want her to attend. Take her to some WNBA games and get her inspired.

Don’t engage in basketball ignorance, fans. Be informed and know what’s up in your favorite game, from top to bottom. It takes all of the parts to make a whole.