WNBA expands its reach

Amber Anderson | Staff Writer

wnba articlePhoto Credit: Flickr User Lorie Shaull

The WNBA in September announced legend Lisa Leslie will be honored with a statue outside Staples Center.

Leslie will make history as the first female athlete to be honored with a statue outside of the arena. She also will be the first in WNBA history to have a statue outside the team’s home arena. Her statue will be alongside other Los Angeles legends, such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Wayne Gretzky.

It will be a historic moment for women’s basketball.

In a recent interview with the female hosts of CBS: We Need to Talk, Leslie spoke about the importance of women in sports and the growth of the WNBA. Leslie discussed the humble beginnings of the league, expressing how grateful she was not only for her career but for the men who stood up and supported the WNBA. Leslie also mentioned that being one of the first to sign with the WNBA, alongside Rebecca Lobo and Sheryl Swoopes, meant she had an obligation to set the standard for future athletes to come.

“When you look at the WNBA Finals, these players are more talented than the talent that we had in 1997,” Leslie said.

She also went on to express how proud she is of Washington Mystics Forward Elena Delle Donne for being the first in the WNBA to join the 50-40-90 club. That meant that Delle Donne shot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the 3-point range, and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

Lanece Carpenter, a Hampton University freshman majoring in sports management, thinks the WNBA has made significant strides.

“I do believe the WNBA is making progress,” Carpenter said. “In terms of popularity, the WNBA gets more viewers and makes more money every year. Even though the progress they make may look nonexistent in comparison to the NBA, they are making continuous progress to have female professional sports leagues be as coveted as male professional sports leagues.”

Carpenter thinks the WNBA is working diligently to prove the longevity and desire for female professional sports leagues.

The WNBA has indeed been working hard to progress through making themselves more notable in the media to become more recognizable to basketball fans across the globe.

Ayonna Chambers, a freshman journalism student at Hampton, has taken note of the WNBA becoming more prevalent.

“A couple of years ago, I wasn’t even about to name a woman’s basketball player,” Chambers said. “Now I see them all in the headlines, commercials, and sponsorships and can recognize their face. Also, they are now featured in NBA 2K20 for the first time.

“They never had this opportunity because no one had eyes on the WNBA, but now they do.”

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