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Hoops Happening: Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe become first gay couple featured in ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’

Plus, Breanna Stewart disrobed for the issue, Angel McCoughtry and Maya Moore named WNBA Players of the Week and more. This is today in women’s basketball for Monday June 25, 2018!

Seattle Storm v Las Vegas Aces
Sue Bird
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Basketball great Sue Bird likes to be covered up on the court. In the preseason, she remarked that the newly-designed Nike uniforms were favorable because of the neckline design that keeps players’ sports bras covered. Well, the uniform — and everything else — went out the window for the 10-year anniversary of ESPN’s Body Issue.

She posed with her soccer star partner, Megan Rapinoe, making them the first LBGTQ couple to be featured in the issue — a significant cultural moment that should be revered for its bravery and necessity. “Visibility is important,” Rapinoe said, of the cover.

Bird’s Storm teammate, Breanna Stewart, also dropped the towel for the issue to round out the issue’s WNBA inclusion. And other notable female athletes to make the special anniversary edition include: track athlete Tori Bowie, softball player Lauren Chamberlain and soccer player Crystal Dunn.

Players of the week

Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played June 18-24. In the West, the Player of the Week honors went to Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx.

Here’s how both ballers got it done:

Players who were in the running but did not make the cut include: A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm) and Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics).

Tough competition week in and week out in this league. Congrats to the winners and the candidates!

Game of the night

The Sky pulled off a big upset in the Windy City on Sunday night. See how Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot did it.


Players of the night

Bench players powered the Sun to victory over the Fever on Sunday.

Rachel Banham dropped 20 points.

Brionna Jones scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Next up in the WNBA

On-court action resumes on Tuesday with four games on the schedule and games every day, through Sunday! Stay tuned for previews and more game coverage!

Link lush

  • For DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree, it’s a real-life Love & Basketball situation. Playing in two different cities, with young twin daughters, is the ultimate of juggling acts.
  • WNBA was fully represented at NYC Pride.
  • Your head may explode if you try to answer this, but: Who are the best rookies in WNBA history?
  • Gotta love it when Diana Taurasi knocks Robert Horry down a notch — and Sam Perkins, too. Any takers on who’s next to kicked down a rung in the NBA stat books?
  • A’ja Wilson’s idols are now her rivals. If she stops to think about that her head might spin.
  • The race to the MVP award is getting tight and this list moves Diana Taurasi into the top five with her teammate, Brittney Griner. Who’s missing? Who shouldn’t be on the list?
  • Diamond DeShields comes from sports world royalty, and she’s not alone. Fellow rookie Kia Nurse comes from an athletic lineage as well.
  • ESPYS voting is open! Let your voice be heard.
  • Rachelle Jones, a noted college basketball referee, passed away on June 18 at the age of 51 following a several-years battle against cancer. Surely Jones and Anne Donovan are talking it up in basketball heaven.
  • Claressa Shields, the only American boxer to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, overcame her biggest opponent on Saturday and was clearly ready for another fight.

Scorching the status quo

  • Breanna Stewart, in advance of the release of ESPN’s 10-year anniversary edition of The Body Issue, spoke with Julie Foudy about her history of sexual abuse and what it means for her to go bare in The Body Issue. The E:60 interview is streaming on the ESPN app.
  • Mystics superstar Elena Delle Donne embraces her platform, uses her voice, to state the obvious shortcomings in resources allocated by the NBA to market the WNBA. Will her fact-based insights foster change? Or be glossed over in favor of more of the same?
  • Lonnae O’Neal writes on the special brand of vitriol reserved for black female athletes. Remember Don Imus, anyone? Also from The Undefeated: A powerful illustrated story of representation of black female athletes.
  • Michigan State board voted 6-2 in opposition of calls to fire interim president John Engler, who was brought in to clean up the mess following the Larry Nassar scandal. If the interim president has such contempt for past victims as his statements indicate, why should parents feel safe sending their children to MSU?.
  • GOAT of the tennis world, Serena Williams, calls for boys to receive domestic violence education. Thus far, the focus on sexual and domestic violence is what women need to do to protect themselves, and getting justice for victims after the fact. While change must continue in these areas, it is of utmost importance that society learn to rear boys into men who do not feel they have ownership over women and their bodies.
  • Case in point: A World Cup reporter was sexually assaulted on air while attempting to do her job.

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