In lieu of the ongoing Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) 2021 playoffs, it is important to highlight and acknowledge just how key this league is to athletes worldwide.
In all of its 25 years, the WNBA has led the way in participating in social justice movements, knocking down gender inequality boundaries and showing young girls that they, too, have a place in male-dominated sport. From Tamika Catchings, Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie and Swin Cash, women in the league have relentlessly pushed boundaries and opened up doors for young girls in this sport.
The WNBA not only encourages female empowerment but allows women the opportunity to professionally play the sport.
Despite the gender pay gap and equity issues that occur in the league, the women in the WNBA have continued to stay resilient since its founding. The word activism is not just flashed in the league as something to briefly discuss, but several women including 6x All-Star and WNBA Champion/Olympian Maya Moore continuously uplift this statement. Moore, in the midst of her career, took a break to help Jonathan Irons, an innocent man, find justice within the prison system. Moore not only helped to bring him justice but became an anchor for social activism within the league.
Additionally, the women in the WNBA were some of the first to cancel games and draw attention to the murder of George Floyd – before the NBA and MLB combined. The great women in this league not only recognize how important fighting for social causes are but continuously fight everyday for that change to occur.
It is important to highlight just how great and trendsetting this league is because it finally gives women the space to compete and display their abundant talents to the world. As recent gold medalists in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, several members in the WNBA showed the world what a league full of boss women could accomplish.
Thus, the WNBA needs more coverage, attention and respect from the rest of the world. The late, great Kobe Bryant, who was a strong advocate for the league, knew just how important and special these women are and actively advocated for that with his own daughter Gianna Bryant, who was honored by the league after her passing.
In conclusion, the WNBA is just as important as the NBA, and the women deserve to be treated as such.