Get a group of women together to do something that does not involve men and drama seems inevitable. Why? The creative, albeit twisted, imaginations of men. A couple of chicks hang out to kick it without their men and — boom! — they’re Satan-worshiping witches who must be destroyed.
And, so it goes with the WNBA, where misconceptions fly wildly by people who have never watched a game — and won’t dare to — because they can’t handle the truth. So, they peddle their little fairy stories as truth while the reality of the league gains little exposure. Supposed witches of Salem were silenced by death but the WNBA has been silenced by mainstream media, which is a type of professional death in this technological age.
Interestingly, 326 years ago yesterday, on June 10, 1692, Bridget Bishop was the first woman executed after being found guilty of practicing witchcraft. In remembrance of her life and senseless, barbaric death, myths surrounding the WNBA will be debunked using games played yesterday — June 10, 2018 — as examples.
Myth #1: The games aren’t competitive. Somehow, despite decades of women going hard in a variety of sports, the masses choose to believe that women of the WNBA “play dainty” for fear of breaking a nail or something.
In reality, WNBA games are intensely competitive, even when teams with poor W-L records are on the court. In the WNBA, if one team is up by blowout figures, anyone who dares turn off the TV will miss the good stuff — insane comeback wins (or near-comebacks) — that happen night in and night out.
For example, the winless Indiana Fever never gave up in a 75-78 loss to the Liberty.
The team’s effort never wavered, but inexperience got the better of them in final minutes.(More on this team below ...)
Also, let’s be real. The Golden State Warriors’ sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals was a boring, lackluster affair. Millionaire athletes — in Finals’ competition — had thrown in the towel before tipoff. The Fever, now with eight straight losses to start the season, never gave up.
The results from other Sunday games provide further evidence of the competitiveness of this league. An upstart Las Vegas Aces team was not blown out by the 2014 WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury — a team that has as its star players the league all-time leading scorer (Diana Taurasi), the league all-time leader in three-pointers (Taurasi) and the league all-time leader in blocks (Brittney Griner). The Aces, a team with a rookie as the star, lost by just six points.
Also, the Atlanta Dream pulled off a 67-63 upset victory over the Seattle Storm by just three points in a low-scoring, defensive slugfest.
Myth #2: The women can’t do what the men can do. It’s not their fault — just basic biology. Usually, this claim refers to the false notion that women can’t dunk the basketball. With so many beautiful aspects to the game of basketball, it’s wild that people want games to be a highlight reel of dunks and little else. Since dunks is what they want, dunks is what they’ll get.
In reality, women in the WNBA can and do dunk the basketball.
Much of the women-can’t-dunk myth is based on size. Well, naysayers should know Brittney Griner is not an exception, as more and more teams seek to acquire bigs as important parts of their rosters. (See: Liz Cambage of the Dallas Wings, Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, Marie Gulich of the Phoenix Mercury and others.) Also, so-called “undersizeds,” the forwards who sometimes play center, dunk as well (see: Glory Johnson of the Dallas Wings).
Myth #3: People don’t want to watch because it’s a bad product. The debunking of myths #1 and #2 show that the WNBA not only is a good product, but a great one — with better competition than is seen on many nights in the NBA.
In reality, basketball fans and the basketball curious want to watch WNBA games and they will watch if given both the means by which to do so and easy access to accurate scheduling information (as is commonplace for mainstream sports media to provide for male sports league). Numbers don’t lie.
Myth #4: The women of the WNBA are ugly. Of all the reasons to write women off, this is the dumbest, cruelest and most pervasive. When all else fails and there is no real argument against her talent or performance or ideas, attack her appearance. After all, women of various categories are repeatedly written off in this society for reasons that, at the core, have to do with whether men find them sexually attractive. Nick Young, who celebrated his Golden State Warriors’ 2018 NBA Championship with crass statements about starting a family with one woman while being engaged to another, already had proved himself to have lowbrow, sexist leanings — which included social media posts about how WNBA viewership would increase if the players looked like Instagram models.
In reality, the women in the WNBA are beautiful in as many diverse ways as exist in society. No, they do not take to the court in bikinis, just like the men don’t hoop in swim trunks. Basketball is not about satisfying the male gaze, but competing. And it’s time for this society to grow up and stop limiting women’s potential based on appearance and willingness to sexualize themselves. The further reality — and silly irony — is that many WNBA players do meet the narrow societal definition of beauty, and perusing some of their social media accounts would reveal this very easily. But that does not mean women who choose not to post photos of themselves in bikinis are any less attractive than those who do. So, can we all agree that it’s imperative for society to do better?
Game of the night
Fever vs. Liberty — highly competitive, close all game, timely three-pointers, insane production by rookies.
Play of the night
Brittney Griner’s mean block of A’ja Wilson’s shot that nearly knocked Wilson off her feet.
Plus, her 7 other ruthless rejections in this game.
Happy Birthday, Diana Taurasi!
The GOAT turns 36
Early celebration for the GOAT’s birthday!— Phoenix Mercury tWWWWWitter (@PhoenixMercury) June 11, 2018
Thanks X-Factor for helping us out! pic.twitter.com/iBFoRLhTMm
The world is a better place because you were born and dared to follow your dreams. As with most things, the impact you’ve made in the world is much bigger than basketball.
8 reasons the Fever are the best winless team in all of sports
Everything isn’t as it appears. One look at the Indiana Fever’s 0-8 record would cause some to assume the squad doesn’t even belong in the league. But this just isn’t the case (and a similar case could be made for the 1-7 Las Vegas Aces).
So, here’s why the Fever are the best winless team in sports:
- In the losses, the average deficit through 8 games was 8 points.
- The only double-digit loss (17 points) was to the LA Sparks on May 22.
- The Fever started the season with a rough schedule — playing 5 games in 8 days.
- The team’s first game of the regular season was the second game of a back-to-back: May 19 preseason game against the Sky and May 20 regular season matchup against the Mystics.
- The back-to-back games required air travel and crossing time zones (factors that have been medically proven to cause slow reaction times and lead to injuries in basketball players): May 19 in Indiana and May 20 in Washington, DC.
- The Mitchell Sisters. Though unrelated biologically, rookie Kelsey Mitchell and second-year pro Tiffany Mitchell have saved the team from blowout losses thanks to their consistent scoring. Kelsey has scored in double figures in each of the team’s 8 games so far this season, averaging 18.75 points per game. Tiffany has scored in double figures in 5-of-8 of the team’s games, averaging 8.4 points per game.
- Head Coach Pokey Chatman, who was responsible for putting the Chicago Sky on the scene and getting the team into top contention in the Eastern Conference (among other notable achievements).
- Candice Dupree. Although the 2014 WNBA champion (with the Phoenix Mercury) is having a rough start to the season due to poor play and injury, the veteran leadership she provides this young team cannot be overlooked. If her contributions are not showing up in the box score, they’ll show up in other ways as she helps her teammates better understand competition at this elite level.
While the Fever have only tallied losses so far this seasons, wins are coming! It’d be a mistake to give up on this young, promising team.
- Skylar Diggins-Smith had a career night in the Wings’ win on Friday. Why aren’t more people discussing her dominant play this season? She is the lead leader in scoring after all.
- 4 Oregon Ducks are in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup, in play that started last night Eastern Standard Time in the US. Here’s a breakdown from Christine M. Hopkins.
- The Phoenix Mercury are documenting their chase for another WNBA championship in a docuseries produced by the team. It’s called The Chase.
- Albert Lee has been deep into WNBA expansion analysis, and intense competition by the 12 teams of the league continues to make the case for bringing WNBA teams to new cities.
- The importance of Lisa Leslie, according to Arielle Chambers.
- Cassy Lopez became the first woman to receive a Division I wrestling scholarship. Congrats, Ms. Lopez!
Scorching the status quo
Watching sports is a type of entertainment, so it makes sense that people want to escape into a game or season or rivalry to avoid thinking about the stresses of everyday life or sociopolitical issues. But sports and politics have always been interconnected in ways that go beyond players protesting social injustices.
The World Cup is set to start in Russia, with wild hooligans mutilating each other’s faces in the forest while teams battle on the field. How did Russia land this gazillion-dollar tournament that will be followed by most countries of the world?
Why should this matter to every citizen of the world, not just here in the United States?
The International Olympic Committee awarded Russia the Games in Sochi in 2014. On the day of the closing ceremony — with Russia emboldened by a successful event and the world distracted by Olympic coverage — the Russian military invaded the long-coveted Crimean region of Ukraine.
In addition to battles on the ground resulting in loss of life, the president of Russia admitted to giving the order to shoot down a passenger plane in events directly related to the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the invasion of Crimea.
With Russia once again to have the eyes of the world focused in its direction for the FIFA World Cup, it would behoove everyone, especially world leaders who value peace and democracy, to pay attention for signs of another move by Russia to grab power.
For more on Russia’s activities before, during and after the Sochi Olympics — but through the lens of that country’s Olympic doping scandal — weirdly and wildly relevant to Russia’s political actions after the games, up to and including accusations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in the United States — watch ICARUS.
In other news ...
- ICYMI: An analysis of the players on the all-male Forbes 100 highest-paid athletes list.
How to #WatchThemWork all season
Shine brighter. C’mon! You can do it. * flicker flicker *