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WNBA stars on the ‘Captain Marvel’ red carpet is the kind of slam dunk society needs

Plus, Liz Cambage on struggling to pay mortgage, Kristi Toliver recognized, WNBA cartoon art and much more from the world of women’s hoops!

Los Angeles World Premiere Of Marvel Studios’ ‘Captain Marvel’
Atlanta Dream star Renee Montgomery attends the Los Angeles world premiere of ‘Captain Marvel’ at Dolby Theatre on Monday, March 4, 2019 in Hollywood, California
Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

The stars were out in Hollywood Monday night for the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel! But it wasn’t just marquee actors like Brie Larson (who plays the title character), Annette Bening and Samuel L. Jackson out en force.

‘Captain Marvel’ NY Special Screening hosted by The Cinema Society
Brie Larson (left) and Annette Bening (right) at the March 6, 2019 world preview of Captain Marvel.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Disney Studios
Los Angeles World Premiere Of Marvel Studios’ ‘Captain Marvel’
Legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson at the March 6, 2019 world preview of Captain Marvel.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Some of the biggest stars in the WNBA hobnobbed on the red carpet with celebrities from the world of cinema.

Chicago Sky center Stefanie Dolson, draped in slinky apricot, got Samuel L. Jackson to follow her on Instagram.

Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery paused for red carpet photos with actor Don Cheadle — both sporting trousers and white tennies, but only one rocking a “What Makes A Hero” hoodie.

Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike and Phoenix Mercury forward-guard Essence Carson joined Dolson and Montgomery for a group shot.

Captain Marvel is groundbreaking for two reasons: 1) it is the first movie from Marvel Studios focused on a female superhero character; and 2) it was written and co-directed by a woman, Anna Boden.

Of the film’s groundbreaking firsts, Boden said:

This movie is about a female superhero who is finding her own power and voice. It felt important to have women behind the camera who can be part of that. And it was undoubtedly necessary to Marvel. There were also women writers — women helped shape this character. And Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, had such a unique and important perspective on being inclusive for women.

But all is not Marvel-ous ahead of the official March 8 release due to the actions of trolls who would prefer to see Larson in an apron rather than a superhero costume.

Despite the year being 2019, some men still consider certain areas of life to be theirs alone, and they work hard to try to keep women out. Superhero movies, comics and, yes, sports, are just some of the sectors where men feel women do not belong. Add in that the movie’s star, Larson, has been critical of the lack of diversity in film — specifically, in film criticism — and the backlash began.

Trolls began trashing her and the movie online, but Disney was prepared to combat such onslaughts. Still, trolls united in droves to write negative reviews on IMDb, well before the film’s release, to plummet Captain Marvel’s ratings. (Dear IMDb: Perhaps adjust your site’s settings so that people cannot write reviews until a movie’s official release date?)

Just as our society experienced a string of public scandals involving racism during Black History Month (February) this year, it appears the most misogynistic among us wish to dish similar treatment toward women in March — Women’s History Month. Unrelenting efforts by sexist, chauvinist trolls to denigrate women (mainly online, because men of this stripe are cowards) seem to have ramped up lately, with women being targeted at every turn every time they accomplish something, share an idea publicly or ... simply exist.

This form of violence against women substantiates the need for women to continue living their best lives as boldly and as visibly as possible, and for allies to continue providing and amplifying opportunities for women in all professions.

Ahead of opening day, Marvel Studios should be championed not only for green-lighting Captain Marvel with a woman serving as writer and co-director, but also for joining forces with the WNBA to promote the film. The studio contacted the WNBA in the fall of last year about partnering on promotional items prior to the Captain Marvel release. Given the overlapping themes of female empowerment and strength in both the movie and the league, Marvel Studios rightly picked the WNBA for its mission.

For far too long, the multi-talented women of the WNBA have been relegated to the margins, ushered away from the bright lights of mainstream media. But Marvel Studios took important steps to flip that script — making the kind of slam dunk society needs.

Captain Marvel opens in theaters Friday, March 8 — International Women’s Day — with advance screenings starting tonight!


Elsewhere in the world of women’s basketball

Liz Cambage discusses the physical and financial toll female basketball players face as a result of year-round competition

Basketball - Commonwealth Games Day 10
Liz Cambage during the gold-medal game at Australia’s Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on April 14, 2018. Her team won the gold medal and one month later she tipped off what would become a history-making WNBA season.
Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

In the explosive interview tied to International Women’s Day, Cambage shares that no-paying (national team) and low-paying (WNBA) basketball commitments — coupled with injury — left her unable to make her mortgage payments.

People are making WNBA-centric art ... and we love it!

Kristi Toliver was honored at the Washington Women of Excellence Awards with the First Female Groundbreaker trophy

Toliver broke ground by becoming an assistant coach with the NBA’s Washington Wizards while still holding court for the WNBA’s Mystics.

Also:

  • WNBA legend Tamika Catchings got a new job with the Indiana Fever.
  • Chiquita Evans became the first woman drafted into the NBA 2K League! “Evans was a college basketball player and turned to NBA 2K as an outlet after suffering injuries that cut her career short,” writes Phillip Barnett.
  • Danielle Robinson is headed to Miami to join her Minnesota Lynx teammate Sylvia Fowles for some training. I mean, if you must put in work, it may as well be in warm environs.
  • In other Lynx news, the franchise is counting on the 2019 WNBA Draft to bolster its roster in the wake of Lindsay Whalen’s retirement and Maya Moore’s decision to take the season off. Who might Minnesota take at No. 6? :thinking face emoji:
  • Bleacher Report’s “Are you listening?” series had a recent episode featuring several NBA players and A’ja Wilson discussing their first experiences with racism.
  • “A ship without a captain can only drift for so long before it begins to lose its course,” writes Lyndsey D’Arcangelo. Considering the 2019 WNBA season tips off in two months and the chief executive office currently sits empty, filling the President and CEO position should be the league’s top priority.
  • Former WNBA player Edneisha Curry spoke with LaChina Robinson about her experiences as the only full-time female coach in Division I men’s basketball.
  • You’ve probably heard of the NBA Warriors’ Splash Brothers, but those multi-millionaire All-Stars have nothing on these Splash Sisters.
  • Any talk of women’s history and basketball must include Sheryl Swoopes and those Nike Air Swoopes.

We all have something to fight for. Something that calls us to lead. The question is, How will you get it done? -Captain Marvel