FanPost

How much NBA basketball do WNBA fans follow? If you don't really follow the NBA, why?

This post loosely continues on pilight's FanPost on why men watch sports, at least in the fact that I'm asking an open ended question.

So, the WNBA gets negative stereotypes and jokes about the play of the league and its players.  Sure, much of this vitriol comes from the general public including those who don't even watch, but I would have to say that most of the negative comments on the WNBA are said by NBA fans.  Here is a picture of Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker who attended a game between the Washington Mystics and the Indiana Fever, and here is another picture of Washington Wizards cheerleader , I mean franchise star John Wall and many of the comments aren't positive about the Mystics when such a comment is made. 

Whenever an NBA player comes to a WNBA game, often times to support a friend (Wall is friends with rookie forward Victoria Dunlap since she's also from Kentucky), if that player is called out by the PA Announcer, I see that the fans usually give a lukewarm response.  Some guys like me will stand up and cheer because he's there, but most of the fans will look at me like I'm an idiot.  However, if a women's basketball legend of some sort is there, such as let's say, former Mystics player Vicky Bullett or former UMD basketball head coach Chris Weller, they're given hero's welcomes like whenever Capitals Czar Alex Ovechkin catches a Wizards game.  One time or another I had to think a second or two before I realized who it was.

I know a number of people at Mystics games who love NBA basketball, if not the Washington Wizards at least, but there are also plenty of fans who I know who don't care for the league, not too far off from the way NBA fans don't care about the WNBA.  I can think of two big reasons why:

1. NBA basketball appears to glorify highlight plays over good basketball, and WNBA fans want to see good basketball over "highlights."

Well, every league has highlight plays, and those plays can become iconic, like Mike's legal crab dribble and dunk over Patrick Ewing, Dr. J's crazy layup in the Finals against the Lakers, and for Wizards fans, Gilbert Arenas' buzzer beating threes.  Basketball is a sport that can showcase the talents of some great athletes, and the casual fan at least wants to see those great athletes utilize those talents.

The WNBA has its own share of highlights besides the Sparks dunks, such as Weatherspoon's full court buzzer beater in the Finals, and Sue Bird's game winners in back to back playoff games last year among others. One thing a number of Mystics fans have told me is that WNBA basketball is "more fundamental", or played the way basketball is supposed to be played, and that the NBA isn't doing that as much.  I can certainly tell you that NBA fans don't just want to see highlights and players going for those type of plays.

2. "Returning the Favor" to NBA fans who don't like the WNBA.

What this means is that WNBA fans strike back at the NBA and often throw back stereotypes as well.  These include some fans maybe saying that NBA players are too ghetto, too macho, and too narcissistic which are all things that the NBA faces.  Also, as I mentioned above, WNBA fans not cheering for an NBA player who’s in attendance is also a way for them to strike back at the NBA fans, in particular for the notable stars in the city, like John Wall.  Not cheering Booker or Hamady N'Diaye is understandable since they're bench guys.  After all, if a WNBA player was at an NBA game and got called out by the PA Announcer, she will probably get a lukewarm response as well even if it was Diana Taurasi at Suns game or Cappie Pondexter at a Knicks game.

I personally don't like to see that whenever a star NBA player comes to a game and is recognized, in particular if the city has a team in both leagues.  Whenever a celebrity is recognized, there are usually cheers, and in the WNBA, it could definitely use as much attendance support as it can get, and I'm sure almost all the DC area sports fans know who John Wall is.  Sorry for the homer-ism.

*****

So that's what's on my chest.  How do you compare your love for the WNBA against the NBA.  And if you don't like the NBA, well, why?

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