When Will The WNBA Be Respected?
- Shaniqua Benjamin
Last week’s WNBA Finals show the league is continuing to grow in popularity, but why is women’s basketball still not getting the respect it deserves?
“Inspiring” “Great” “Dynasty.” This is just a few of the words used to describe the Minnesota Lynx, who were crowned WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) Champions last week. The Lynx claimed their third championship in five years after playing in five straight conference finals.
The Lynx were out for redemption, as they battled against the Indiana Fever, who had beaten them in 2012. It was a tough fought five-game series between the two WNBA powerhouses, hungry for another title, but unfortunately not enough people will ever know it happened.
The WNBA does not get the same extensive coverage as the NBA, which is constantly reported on throughout the year. In my opinion, it is because of the lack of respect for women’s basketball and women’s sports as a whole. I’ve found myself fighting the corner for women’s basketball on more than one occasion, listening to people put them down, simply because they’re not deemed as athletic as the men – oh, and because they don’t dunk.
“Don’t these women deserve the same level of attention as the men playing exactly the same sport?”
I also found myself unable to watch the games I desperately wanted to see, leaving me to follow the playoffs solely online. I had the opportunity to watch some of the WNBA playoff games in the past, however since 2013 it seems that these games were no longer worthy to be shown in the UK, despite the WNBA growing in popularity. Even Prince was in the stands during Game Five and he threw the Lynx a celebration party afterwards!
I struggle to comprehend why BT Sport (who now owns ESPN UK) does not show the WNBA playoffs at the very least, as these women have fought to get to the same professional level as the men who play in the NBA. Don’t they deserve the same type of coverage?
Just like numerous NBA teams, the Lynx have created a legacy that I’m sure they will continue to build on, especially with a player like Maya Moore on their team. Maya Moore is on course to become one of the greatest basketball players ever to grace the court, winning at every level and growing year on year. Her game-winning buzzer-beater in game three – which got her a slot on Sports Centre – will go down in history.
There are many other stories to be told about the Lynx, the Fever and the WNBA season as a whole, but because there is no mainstream exposure, most people will never know they even exist. Don’t these women deserve the same level of attention as the men playing exactly the same sport?
Feature Image By Hannah Foslien