Don’t Lower The Rim! RAISE My Pay!

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As the 2018 WNBA season quickly approaches, conversations have been sparked as a former three-time NCAA champion and WNBA All-Star, Breanna Stewart, shut down a host of the ESPN show, “The Jump”. Tracy McGrady suggested lowering the women’s basketball rim down to encourage more dunking, thus increasing the fans in the stadiums. This isn’t the first time that WNBA players have finally opened up the conversation of the degrading accommodations that are made for the league. In 2016, an idea was proposed to put the WNBA 3-point line four feet closer than the line in the NBA. In response to such a misogynistic proposal, Diana Taurasi, one of the greatest guards in WNBA history, said, “Might as well put us in skirts and back in the kitchen.”

It is already clear that the Women’s National Basketball Association struggles to stay relevant with a large disparity of revenue, national television views, and attendance against men’s professional leagues. Lowering the rims is just an ineffective solution to a problem that stems from a country that puts more of their attention and money in the NBA, rather than evenly distributing for both men and women professional basketball leagues.

Lowering the rims does absolutely nothing. What’s the purpose of accommodating women when they are fully capable of dunking on the rims that they have now? Last time I checked, basketball players aren’t only limited to the skill of dunking. Yes, it is impressive and it gets the crowd going, but does it win the game of basketball? I think not!

Instead of focusing on what women cannot do, I suggest that we fix the salary gap. According to a CNBC financial study, women in the WNBA only earn 20 twenty percent of an NBA player’s salary. Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike was the WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012. She was the WNBA MVP and won a WNBA championship in 2016. She has also won a few championships overseas. Despite this incredible list of accolades at just 27 years old, Ogwumike’s paycheck always falls short compared to what her NBA counterparts take home. The average salary of a WNBA player starts at $50,000 and caps at $110,000. In comparison, the NBA’s starting salary is $560,000.

Like many other WNBA players—even legends like Taurasi—Ogwumike has to play overseas to maximize her earnings. Rather than proposing an ineffective solution that degrades women and the sport of basketball, the powers that be need to work together to form a real solution. The WNBA needs to balance out their pay, otherwise, the WNBA players can take their talents elsewhere.

 

By Jada Daniel, Junior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep

Twitter: @tgijadaaa

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