WNBA: I love this game!

And you will too if you're susceptible to subliminal messages.

No really, I do. You should too.
Basketball is one of the most beloved sports in this country. Americans buy up these replica jerseys that bear the names of their favorite players. We stand in ridiculous lines to buy overpriced shoes endorsed by these guys and cats have been following the corn row, tattoo trend for years all set by these basketball players.
If that's not enough, this year's playoff games set record highs for viewership. Most of us tuned in, what seemed like every night, for weeks to see LeBron, Kobe, Carmello and Dwight battle to edge out their competition in points, rebounds, assists and of course wins.
Now that the championship series is over and Kobe & Co., have emerged as victors, basketball fans everywhere have packed up their gear and started the slow, agonizing countdown to November until they can see a great game. But do they?

I say they don't. I say, they have all summer long to watch great basketball games if you live in ATL, ChiTown, L.A. NYC, Minneapolis, Seattle, Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix, Indianapolis or Washington, D.C. And yes, you have to be in the vicinity of these cities because you WON'T see the WNBA games on TV, cable or otherwise.
It's sad, really. In the 12 years they've been in existence, at least four teams (Cleveland, Charlotte, Houston and Miami) have folded two have moved and I'm about five hours north of my nearest team. These women go out there every practice, every game and everything in between to give their all and it's not good enough - not for American sports fans. At least not until the Olympic games, anyway.
Every four years, 15 of these women become America's Sweethearts because they have been the ONLY team, women's or men's, in American Olympic history to win the gold medal four times in a row. Look it up!

Now these ladies are still struggling to fill even the bottom half of the stadiums they play in, you can't find their merchandise anywhere and they still make virtually NO money. They're forced to play professionally overseas, where they are treated like basketball royalty, in the off season to make their ends meet.
You'd be hard pressed to find any of them, other than Candace Parker, on the cover of any magazine or as the subject of any sports story or talk show. Why not? Why not? Why the hell not?!
I'll tell you why, there's no dunking. They don't run fast enough. All the girls don't fit America's standard of beauty. And the women are actually covered up. I'd bet my rent check that if these women were wearing tight, form-fitting clothes where you can see their all assets bouncing about this would be the highest rated sport outside of football!
Look at the talk Serena Williams got from that cat suit she wore a few years back. Folks weren't talking about her athletic prowess, they were talking about how good she looked in that cat suit. Her being seen in that outfit had people tuning in to watch what she'd wear next. In the process, they saw that she is actually a great athlete and, pardon my expression, but she be slaying bitches on the court!

Should they resort to such measures to draw in a crowd? What about actually enjoying the sport and the SPORTSMANSHIP? What about applauding these women who use teamwork and defense to win ball games without relying on the one star on the team? How about we use this to encourage the little girls and young women who are into sports more than they are hair and make up? Don't they deserve to see images they can identify with?
Please, for the summer, take out of your mind that these are "women ballplayers" and just see them as ballplayers - period. Take a couple hours, watch a game. You might actually enjoy it! I know I do.



Keith said...

Hey Eb...Love your new site...

The F$%K it List said...

Hey Smarty I enjoyed this post. I also have enjoyed the WNBA games.

But just like NBA the WNBA got a tad boring for me and so I retreated from both for a bit.

clnmike said...

A couple of things here,

1-Basketball more than any other team sport is star driven back when Larry and Magic was playing. Thats what drives us to the set to watch Lebron, Kobe, Wade, and son. Every team has at least one that can draw attention. The WNBA's insistance to emphasis the team game doesnt appeal to the average fan.

2- The whole better basketball play is a myth. If anyone has watched a WNBA game they know that team chemistry is blatently absent from the game due to the short season the women spend with each other. All the more reason that they need stars, marketable ones at best.

3- Why would you want to watch a lay up if you can watch a dunk?

4- Yes the lack of sex appeal and the unfounded idea that most of the women are gay in the sport wont draw the casual male fan but that wont stop basketball purist. What will is the overrated game and the constant comparison the men's game the league keeps brining on it's self.

I feel for the ladies I do, but until the league finds an answer to bring in men to watch they are going to have settle for growing slowly through grass roots effort and staying out of the big stadiums whose empty seats only reminds people that nobosy id watching.

Smarty Jones said...

@f_uitlist I feel you. I too have grown bored with the NBA. As I said before, all they do is dunk and complain.

@clnmike You make a lot of valid points, but I disagree with you on the whole stars versus team play thing. I can name at least one to two stars on each WNBA team who can motivate their teammates to play better.
Hell, L.A. Sparks have a team full and when Candace Parker comes back next month, they might as well just collect the title.
As for the constant comparison, women are ALWAYS gonna be compared to men as long as we do what they do whether it's sports or work so there's no getting around that.
I too agree that they need to go to smaller arenas and they need more coverage - period.

clnmike said...

Smarty Jones,

A perfect example of what I am saying is in the NBA, the least popular championship teams this past decade have been the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs, both teams lack charsmatic players, and they were both known for their team play. Ratings were always down when they played in the finals. Yet people were drooling at the prospect of a Lebron vs Kobe match up all through the play off untill Cleavand choked. The league was built that way with magic and Bird and carried by Michael. Now the WNBA does has Candice but she is by her self lacking a foil to play off of. Any other player that can compete happen to play in small markets.

The WNBA was exciting in it's begining cause they were new, had a sleeper in Cynthia Cooper and the big market team the Liberty were routinely in the play offs.

The WNBA needs stars more than team play.

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