Goals Higher than 10 Feet

Los Angeles rookie Candace Parker slams down two of her 10 points with 29 seconds left to play against Indiana. Parker joined teammate Lisa Leslie as the only players to dunk in a WNBA game.

Photo Credit: USA Today

I was recently approached with the question should female basketball players play on nine-foot goals to make the women’s game more exciting on all levels? The old me would’ve said yes without any hesitation. I always dreamed of being able to dunk and if I was able to play on a nine-foot goal instead of the normal 10-foot goal, that dream would’ve come true. Twelve inches is a big difference. However, I recently had the privilege to experience a WNBA game first-hand. The Washington Mystics battled the Atlanta Dream and it was an intense, high-energy game. The ladies balled out, and a lot of their plays should’ve made “SportsCenter’s” or “Fox Sports Live’s” top plays. To see that type of performance was reassurance that the women’s game is moving forward in the right direction. Now, I had a former high school girls basketball coach say that lowering the goals would increase the women’s game and bring in more fans. This statement may be true because if more women are dunking, catching alley-oops, slapping the glass and playing above the rim, this may garner the attention of more fans. On the other hand, this excitement comes at a cost. Essentially, this change would water down the women’s game. I’m all for change if it’s for the better, but this change would negate everything female basketball players have worked for thus far. To play with a smaller ball is one thing – many women can play just as well with men’s basketballs – but to change the height of the goals, female ballers would have to change their shots and that’s a problem.

Women would probably agree that, although it’s tempting, they don’t want the easy way out. Goals shouldn’t be lowered to nine feet, female players need to continue to play at a higher level. Many fans and college coaches are looking at girls basketball at the middle school and high school levels and focusing on the bad players instead of the talented ones. There are some players who get involved with the game at a young age, work hard and their performance shows, while others may play because their parents want them to, their friends are playing or other reasons that are a reflection of their performance. Genetically, males are more athletic than females, so male basketball players playing above the rim comes more naturally.¬†Although there are athletic women who are explosive and can dunk , if fans judge the quality of the women’s game based on it being above the rim, then female basketball players will never be good enough. Continue reading “Goals Higher than 10 Feet”

Challenging the Status Quo

Photo Credit: ESPN.com

With the 2015 WNBA season underway, I want to bring your attention to a matter that is rarely discussed, but is necessary for the growth of the women’s game. Every year, the NBA Draft is flooded with underclassmen who decide to leave college early to punch their tickets to fulfill a lifelong dream. However, this isn’t the case for female basketball players. With a few exceptions, they usually exhaust their eligibility to get their degrees whether they plan to play professionally or not, mainly because the WNBA salaries are like minimum wage compared to what NBA players make. In addition to the WNBA, players have to play overseas just to break six figures, while the average NBA player can earn six figures just for showing up. ¬†Although, the WNBA is barely tw0-decades old, has shorter seasons and fewer teams and sponsors, the financial disparity is wide. Now, the veterans and star players such as Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi have million dollar networths after endorsements, but the WNBA currently has a maximum salary of $107,000 annually. Some of the coaches make more than double the salary of star players. Continue reading “Challenging the Status Quo”