Am I betraying my gender if I prefer the NBA?


Graphic by Bailey Spore

Madeline WIlliamson makes a shot over many different WNBA allstars.

by Madeline Williamson, Reporter

Who are Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Sylvia Fowles? They are the top WNBA players. I bet you didn’t know that, and neither did I. What they all have in common is that they are the best of the best in women’s basketball.

Why aren’t these names household names like Lebron James and Steph Curry? While the top NBA players like Lebron James, Steph Curry and James Harden struggle to go anywhere in public because of the fans and paparazzi, the women are relatively unknown outside of hard-core fans.

I don’t follow the WNBA.  Am I to blame if I don’t support my gender because I love the NBA?

Social media buzz plays a key role in the basketball league’s following. For example, on Instagram the NBA has 36.4 million followers and on Twitter they have 24.6 million. The WNBA has 2% of of the amount of Instagram and Twitter followers. This made me realize that I am partially to blame if I don’t follow the women, but I follow the men.

That translates to a financial struggle due to the lack of following and the lack of money that goes into the program. The players in the WNBA feel underpaid for the work that goes into their jobs. According to Kayla McBride’s tweet, “I don’t wanna hear anything or anyone who doesn’t walk in my shoes every day talking about the salary in the WNBA. We deserve more. Period.” 

As a woman who expects to be paid equally for the job I do, I agree these women should be paid more fairly. When an NBA player signs a major contract, it’s all over popular sports websites, but when a woman signs to a WNBA team there’s no commotion about it, except to note the lower pay by comparison to men. A difference between men and woman’s contracts is that the top men’s basketball players sign multi-million dollar contracts and make as much as $270 million over the span of four years.  The top women can make as much as $466k over four years, a lot by many standards, but not much compared to the boys. 

These NBA deals don’t include the additional money that comes from brand deals, sponsors and even their own brands as well. Most often, women don’t have their own brands. We see Lebron having shoe brand, but there are no Air Taurasi shoes.

Would I wear Air Taurasi shoes?  That’s a good question.

Why am I attracted to the NBA? Men can do crazy dunks and blocks while women make layups. Watching a man dunk the ball is far more interesting, which is, sadly, a skill that most women struggle with because they simply aren’t tall enough. What the NBA players do to attract attention is the crazy moves that make viewers want to watch more.

After watching a series of WNBA plays that aren’t as flashy, I don’t believe that I’m to blame. The NBA offers more entertainment than the WNBA, but I realize I could do more to support my gender.

I just followed Diana Taurasi on Twitter.