There was no surprise when Baylor University star Brittney Griner was selected number one overall in the WNBA Draft. Griner will join former number one pick Diana Taurasi and the Mercury out in Phoenix. There was also no surprise at the ignorance that was displayed during and after the televised round of the draft on television. On Twitter, #WNBAinjuries trended with all the misogyny laced ignorance statements that one could fit into 140 characters. The league is entering into its 16th year and there is one thing that ignorance has not managed to dim; the players love for the game.
It’s no secret that the WNBA has had and continues to have financial struggles. The salaries of the top WNBA players don’t even rival the minimum of what an NBA rookie makes. Yet these players still come out and put everything on the line AFTER many of them have played a season overseas. Many play year-round ball so that they can support themselves financially. During their seasons here in the states, they don’t have the luxuries of traveling via private anything to their next game. They tend to fly commercial. Their uniforms aren’t as fashionable as the men’s because for the past couple of seasons the league has been selling advertisements on the players’ jerseys. But none of that seems to matter to the players. None of those things seem to matter to the players in the league. Their egos haven’t exploded and they haven’t taken to Twitter to protest because they don’t care. The only thing that matters to them is stepping on the court and walking off with a victory. It’s all about the game with these women.
Am I saying that the greatest NBA players wouldn’t have played without all of the financial upside? Absolutely not. The competitiveness of those guys combined with their passion is undeniable. Even some of those players could not have dreamed of signing some of the contracts that players of today end up with, on or off the court. Am I blaming the players of today for using their skills to make a dream living? Nope, not doing that either. Here’s what I am doing and what’s really good.
So many fans today complain about how overpaid athletes are and how they whine too much about all of the money that they already make. They often shout out that they should just shut up and play, and count their blessings that they can make a living by playing a game that they presumably love. The irony in those statements is that it is often those same fans that will ‘clown’ the WNBA players for their lack of monetary gains by playing the game, or attempt some wack joke about the nonexistence of above the rim play in the league; while overlooking the one thing that they claim as fans to want to see in professional sports: a genuine and unfiltered love for the game.