Nice piece in SLAM on Skylar Diggins, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne.
Each player’s journey since the 2013 draft is chronicled. There are also some interesting comments about the WNBA:
Television ratings during the 2014 playoffs were up 90 percent from the previous season, with single-game viewership hitting a six-year crescendo during Game 2 of the Mercury-Lynx Western Conference finals.
Its audience is growing, but the league still stubbornly tries to
market to mainstream male sports fans who have little interest. The WNBA even pitched using smaller and tighter uniforms to players, who universally shut the idea down in 2013. “We care more about comfort on the court than sex appeal,” Griner says.
To its credit, the league acknowledged LGBT Pride for the first time in 2014, launching a Pride Month and a WNBA Pride website. Eighteen seasons in, it was about time.
As the talent level continues to grow along with the fan base, the
WNBA has other issues to address in order to solidify its legitimacy. With the regular season currently spanning just three short months, the WNBA is treated as a second priority for players who earn a living in overseas leagues. Case in point: The sport’s biggest star of the past decade, Diana Taurasi, announced that she will sit out the upcoming 2015 season due to a contractual agreement with her team in Russia, UMMC.
Cut it however you like—losing the reigning Finals MVP is an ugly headline for the league. If the WNBA wants all of its stars to play,
it has to offer players incentives to stay at home.
The league is slowly coming to understand this, as evidenced by the introduction of a “time off bonus” (albeit a minimal one) in its recent CBA. By giving players a choice to take time off, or perhaps not feel the need to play year-round, the WNBA has shown a willingness to change. It’s time to take action, and there couldn’t be a better group of stars leading the way.
The 3 To See have arrived just in time.
The player’s tribune: Brittney Griner