Originally formatted on Feb 5, 2014 there has been progress so I had to return to the basics and highlight the solutions as well as the continual progress.
It is not a secret that gender matters and that women have been disadvantaged. In many scenarios women make a lower salary than men and more than often the same work is being done or more responsibility is given.
As I listened in on a conversation between my friend and her daughter; James Brown played in the background with such passion and soul “this is a man’s world.” I was then asked “if this is a man’s world, is there room for me?” Now coming from a 5 year old girl, I grinned because her thought process made me proud. There is a message we put out in all that we do and depending on the person who is interpreting the outlook, experience and/or the surroundings it will target different ideals.
As I let her continue she stated when my daddy sings this song he sings it really loud and my mom hums it low moving her head from side to side. I am just listening as this is a child dissecting the mannerisms of her parents. Astonished I stated before I answer your question: do YOU believe it is a man’s world? She answered “yes because there are more boys in my class than girls and boys grow up to be a man.” In her view point the world is her classroom as I proceeded to say “this is a world of opportunity although some people have to work harder than others.” She said “others are me, you and mommy right? It is not fair but I do good, right?”
Flash forward – As of today July 24, 2020, Alex Taylor the founder and captain of the women’s basketball community Hoop York City and Adidas and iFundWomen initiative is changing the way we view basketball. Check out this article and video by Refinery 29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/adidas-ifundwomen-film-series-alex-taylor.
Congratulations are also in order to Keia Clarke for becoming the first CEO in New York Liberty history. As a long-time executive she chose to lead the franchise for the 2020 season. I love to see women in position to excel, expand and push the culture of a matter to a favorable solution.
Many people have come before us to assist in the equality of women rights and many laws are being implemented now to move forward with what our ancestors have sacrificed their life for. Throughout history women have been made to feel inferior and a lot of programs are not highly supported or of interest.
A prime example on the average salary of the 30th Draft pick of an NBA rookie is $850,800. Meanwhile a WNBA rookie salary is only $37,950 (in addition to $74 per day for meal money while on the road.) The WNBA salary listed does not include any endorsement money players can earn on their own. However, how many women have sneaker contracts? I can count them on one hand.
To most the WNBA is a joke that always come up in memes about poor attendance and viewership. Yet, in reality it is a passion that was honed at a tender age for most. I feel for all of the girls who grew up playing basketball who had to find alternate route beyond their passion because all they wanted to do was play basketball. Even in my personal life adjusting to NOT playing after being sidelined by an injury at the L.A. Sparks practice really reshaped my life. It felt as if the elasticity of my speed was being pulled backwards.
I couldn’t advance the ball or run at a full pace but I pushed through my injury and just as I felt a pop I just knew everything was over. However, I still gathered up enough courage for the last move I made. As I gathered up my strength; it was a hop step into a layup as I saw a gap in the defense. I reagravated an old injury and excited a new one. Kruti one of my childhood mentors came in the door just as I made my aggressive move and from there my legs were heavy. The coach came over to me as I hung my head and stated “I had a pleasant face.” (Low key but high key I think the compliment was a nod and a keep your head up and move toward your other passion. Which was my dual major because I had options. So thank you!)
They picked another woman who was nice, excellent ball handling skills, poise and a leader as she ran point. As I wobbled over and congratulated her I smiled because she deserved it. Just like that everything was OVER at least it felt like it. Years of experience and preparation, being away from my family and life with a basketball all came to a halt. But it wasn’t the end it was a new beginning and I say that with a smile. I was grateful to have made it so far yet I started to think about all of the relationships I couldn’t cultivate because all of my time spent in the gym. Although, I had honed other skills it was a process to get familiar with not being able to play basketball professionally. Especially when all you want is to do is play basketball. The withdrawal kicks in and you are left with the question of ‘What now?’ Because there was not an alternative league like back in the day like the ABL. What did I do next? I had to sit with myself and figure it out.
Growing up Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and Cynthia Cooper were the most recognizable faces and they had the best sneakers made by Nike hands down. Did anyone else notice only one pair of Women Jordan’s were produced? It is not just in the world of basketball it is in the corporate world as well. Women have to prove themselves more, put through tests and not supported most of the time by their colleagues.
I applaud agents of change in the sporting industry in Latoya and Jason who always show me love. Even if it takes me a while to find them in the packed stadium with the roaring of the crowd at Madison Square Garden or Barclays. Continue to excel in your careers, craft and pushing the needle. I am proud of you both.
There has been great progress but we still have work to do. Whereas, referees in the WNBA make more money than the players in comparison to the 12th man on a NBA team who makes more than a whole WNBA team. The travel accommodations are not first class and many incidents in the past led players to arrive on malfunctioning buses giving them AAU vibes.
UPDATE: Kyrie Irving commits $1.5M to help pay WNBA players who opted out, many of the NBA players have shown their support by wearing WNBA new hoodie with Candace Parker as the logo and both the Storm and the Liberty teams respectfully walked off the court back into the locker room before the National anthem during the season opener.
Again, would you rather be UNDERpaid or OVERrated within your profession? Because gender matters…