Category: Blog, Sports

The detainment of WNBA player Brittney Griner in Russia in February of 2022 was a stark reminder of the low wages paid to basketball stars in the league. The incident served as a call to action as Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, was detained by Russian Customs and sentenced to 9 years in prison for carrying cartridges containing medically prescribed hash oil weighing less than a gram. Thankfully, US officials negotiated a trade with Russia to bring Griner home safely in December of 2022. 

It’s become common for female basketball players to play overseas during their off-season to earn extra income. To put things in perspective, the highest-earning WNBA player in 2023 is Jackie Young of the Las Vegas Aces, who makes $252,450. While that may sound like a substantial amount to most of us, it pales in comparison to the minimum salary for an NBA player with zero years of experience, which is $1,017,780, according to an article by Paul Rudder on May 26, 2023. While I’m not an expert in mathematics, the discrepancy is apparent.

Upon witnessing the undeniable talent of women in the WNBA and feeling a deep sense of injustice, I knew I had to take action to support them. It dawned on me that attending games, buying merchandise, and rooting for our teams would be a crucial step in giving these athletes the recognition and compensation they deserve. With this mission in mind, I enthusiastically attended games to support my local team, the New York Liberty. Little did I know, this decision would exceed all expectations as the Liberty transformed into a powerhouse Super Team.

Thanks to the addition of talented free agents Courtney Vandersloot, Jonquel Jones, and Breanna Stewart, the New York Liberty team achieved an impressive record of thirty-two wins and only eight losses during the 2023 season. Although they finished two games behind the Las Vegas Aces (34,6), they secured a spot in the first round of the WNBA playoffs. On Friday, September 15th, the New York Liberty won game one of the first-round best out of a three-game series against the Washington Mystics, a team that has proven tough to beat for the New York team. Game two of the series will be played in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 check local listings for coverage. 

I must say, attending games at the Barclays Center has been an absolutely transformative experience. The energy in the air is simply electrifying. The fans are truly passionate, displaying an impressive knowledge of basketball and an unwavering devotion to their favorite players. And let’s not forget the team mascot, Big Ellie the Elephant, who never fails to entertain with thrilling performances from the stands, within the crowds, and even on center court during timeouts and breaks. It’s an experience like no other!

When attending a live game isn’t feasible, catching it on TV is a great alternative. The higher the ratings, the more opportunities for broadcasts, advertisements, and sponsorships for the players. Ratings truly matter and by working together, we can boost WNBA viewership and generate greater coverage and demand for our players, ultimately leading to more lucrative contracts.

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