The first game of the WNBA Finals is in the books. Why did I choose to wait until now to write the first article of the season? Well, in the words of the ladies male counterpart known simply as Brodie, “Why not?”
Well, let’s not waste words pointing thumbs and instead use them to give the Seattle Storm mad props on securing home court in the ever important Game 1 against the Washington Mystics. There will be plenty of writing delays in the future for us to square up over. Promise.
One of the biggest issues plaguing the WNBA over the years has been the outside perception that it is “boring basketball.” My granddad had this assanine saying about opinions and how everyone had one, or something or another, I’ll get back to you on that. Nonetheless, there will still be a few of you that will see how nice regular season MVP Breanna Stewart is or how lethal Elena Delle Donne is from anywhere on the floor and still go “But they not dunking though!” To which all I have to say is that I run pick ups at the YMCA & 24 Hour courts, neither are you. So if that’s your best argument, nah, you can just Hold Dat. Instead, I’ll just give you four quick reasons on why you should absolutely be tuning in to Game II and the rest of the battle for the 2018 WNBA Finals Trophy.
1} Star. Power.
What you hear in sports so often is that stars win championships. Whether it is KD shifting his focus to Silicon Valley, LBJ rallying “The Land”, or Justin Verlander’s fastball clocking the Houston Astros a MLB trophy, the stars move the needle in sports. And the WNBA is no different.
Fresh off a stellar regular season average of almost 22 ppg and 8 boards, Seattle anchor Breanna Stewart has arrived as the blossoming future of the league. After going 4 for 4 at UConn in title games with the Huskies, Stewie seems poised to build on her championship lore. This is the first of what appears to be many opportunities to accomplish the coveted “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar”, winning the big game at every level. With mother hen and fellow Auriemma disciple Sue Bird (she has a hilarious article up on The Players Tribune, “So I Broke my Fu*king Nose”) controlling the pace of the games like a Jedi, she has pretty good odds.
Unless, of course, you talk to Washington star Forward and former MVP herself, Elena Delle Donne. The former Sky wonder seemed to struggle a bit in Game 1. Finishing with just 10 points was not enough to get it done against the Storm duo, even though Delle Donne got a big boost from rookie teammate Ariel Atkins, who’s 23 point performance was washed away by a seemingly 25 point blowout. Delle Donne is much to great of a player, despite being injured, to not come out and be prepared to bounce back in Game 2.
2} These are great sports towns.
As great as the District of Columbia is, I have not been. Not forreal. I’ve done the, “Hey, let’s hang out the window and snap pictures as we drive up or down Hwy 95 going someplace else.” But walking around and being with the people, nope. That’s where the magic lives, with the people. With their food. And yes, with their sports. Make no mistake, over the years the WNBA has had more than a few teams fold and are now just a memory in a pensieve, just ask the Houston Comets. But now sporting a 12 team league, the city of Washington is in an awesome position to add a little love and greatness to a capital desperate for some positivity. Alex Ovechkin finally broke through and has spent his summer downing Dusse smoothies out of Lord Stanley himself(hopefully), and with any good fortune, his mystical playoff run is something the ladies can look to for motivation. Notwithstanding John Wall, Delle Donne has an opportunity to put chocolate city on the map as a real sports town. At least it’d be real for something.
The city of Seattle is always down for a good time in the storm. That is a town that supports its athletes and teams. Be it the Mariners, the Sounders, their Centurylink buddies, or the throwback Supersonics, the people of Seattle love the teams that accurately represent their home. As a former resident of Emerald City, I saw firsthand how many blocks the fans are willing to walk just to watch the game through the window from outside. You see the passion, especially for the Storm who own the only two championship banners that hang for hoops. Shawn Kemp still throws parties when OKC is eliminated from the playoffs. Over the last few years, there have been rumblings of a possible relocation or at the very least a new stadium. Key Arena is a dated but very cool arena, and there seems to be push back from everyone involved on a possible renovation. Regardless, I was still able to put a finger on the energy of the game, and I was sitting on my aunt’s couch.
These are two cities that are great for both the game and casual fans because they are going to show you how it’s done, both in victory and defeat.
3} The ladies are dope.
By not watching, all you’re doing is depriving yourself of learning something and having a good time. People are afraid to have a good time and learn with women. Who would’ve thought? Whether it is the toughness you hadn’t seen from Bird playing through broken nose number 3. Or is it four? Not to mention Angel McCoughtry’s season ending knee injury or Delle Donne’s ugly buckle that has grossly limited her overall range, but not her heart. When asked about how effected she would be in Game 2, Elena responded “ Let’s talk about my knee after the series. Excuses are for losers.” Bad Ass.
If the on-court festives aren’t what do it for you, there is still the Hall of Fame enshrinement, which this year will feature Comet legend Tina Thompson and current New York Liberty Head Coach Katie Smith. They combine to win a total of six championships and twelve All-WNBA honors. Thompson, a former #1 overall pick, has been enjoying life as a global ambassador of the game. On the other hand, Smith, who chose to head straight for the sidelines after hanging her kicks up, will be entering her second season at the helm next year. Either way, Hall of Fame jackets in basketball don’t care which side of the tree the apple fell. If you can hoop, they’ve got a jacket for you. By the way, they will be joined by regular smegular point guards Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and….some dude named Ray Allen?
4} Just what exactly else could you possibly be watching?!
The Warriors are still puffing champagne cigars. Playoff baseball is still two weeks away. Lewis Hamilton did the victory lap already. Hockey is still around the corner. And the World Cup….well, why bother? There’s no way you watch futbol and are confused about what makes WNBA ball good. SO, what are you watching? Power? Insecure? I mean, you don’t even have Game of Thrones as an excuse. C’mon jo, stop hating and tune in. At this point, you’re just plain disrespectful.
The women of the WNBA started this year off asking for better balance on the pay scale within their league. They never mentioned wanting to be compensated like the men. Although, they shouldn’t say no to $150 million contracts should they be on the table, only to look to their male counterparts as a example of respectable revenue sharing. Ironically, the biggest supporters of the movement were the male basketball players that love watching them, just as a real hooper would. Denver Nugget and SeaTac demigod Isaiah Thomas said, “If you don’t respect women’s basketball, you’re a joke.”
Whether all continues to go well for Stewie and the Storm or not, I am committed to showing the world why WNBA basketball is so integral in the community that connects people outside of the sports world. While the professional american football league is still managing to hit every pothole on a billion dollar road to the heartbreak hotel, basketball is cloud surfing the globe. Where some see the rise of women athletes as new age or changing of the guard, I see what I have since Coop won four straight in the 90’s, what I always have….Greatness. This article may not do much for the bottom line today, give it a moment though, quality runs deep over here.
“And time will tell, if i’m alive and well, cause when i’m by myself, i find that i keep flying high sometimes i must remind myself, that change is more than pennies laying on the floor inside the well…..”
Well said Mac….well said.