The WNBA is unlike any other sports league in the world. Most leagues have a few recognizable faces, that serve as universal representatives for the collective. The WNBA is different in this regard. The players share the spotlight. Of course, you have your heavy hitters. The arguable G.O.A.T. (Diana Taurasi) is still active and the heir apparent (Breanna Stewart) will be around for a while. But there are plenty of women around the league, who can draw a crowd.
This is an interesting and rarely seen dynamic in a professional sports league. But there is a reason the WNBA stands out in this way. Its’ players are multi-dimensional and push the envelope every day of what an athlete should be. They also destroy stereotypes and stigmas that the world has of women hoopers. And it starts with apparel. If you ask the average person what they think a lady baller wears, you’d probably get slides and sweatpants. Not in the WNBA. These ladies could strut around during Fashion Week and turn heads.
They’ll definitely be expanding their wardrobes after All-Star Weekend. Nike has already laced a few players with some exclusive gear, and trust me when I say, it’s some serious heat. And when it’s time to walk the orange carpet (The W wears orange), they can do it up with the best of them. The ladies of the WNBA can dominate magazine pages from Sports Illustrated to Elle.
The fashion realm is one of the ways many players have been able to stand out. Women are naturally stylish and WNBA players are not shy about spreading their wings. It’s rare that an athlete can excel in another area, that almost rivals what they do in competition. Seimone Augustus is still working her way back from injury, but she’s still been front and center. She’s been showing out with her pre-game fits and killing it with the sneakers. That’s the multi-faceted beauty of the WNBA. We could write a book about Odyssey Sims doing work on the court and still give some shine to Augustus. Pretty much every team has a tandem, trio or quartet of ladies who could garner attention, both on and off the court.
And the greatest thing about it is the off the court stuff isn’t used as a basis for relevance. That’s the icing on the cake. We could talk for days about their game. That stands alone without question. But by these ladies being so layered, and having many facets to their personalities, we get to delve deeper into who they are. That trait helps make the WNBA feel more personable and connected to their fans. They are extremely relatable, but superheroes at the same time.
Another aspect that helps these ladies stand out is their willingness to use their voices to help people. Women are activists by nature. They have to be because they are so often acted against. But the women of the WNBA are able to voice their opinions and face opposition, in a way that is not combative but instead promotes equality and inclusivity. They are eloquent, passionate and powerful. If you are looking for cookie-cutter, PR department prepared responses, do not put a microphone in a WNBA player’s face. They will tell you exactly how they feel. But you will have no choice but to respect them. Their words won’t be divisive. They will be spoken with unadulterated conviction. More than an athlete, is more than a tagline, in the WNBA. Don’t expect this to change anytime soon.
The ladies were in Vegas this past weekend for All-Star festivities. The city had been overtaken by the spirit and energy of the WNBA. There are not many events or organizations that can dwarf the awesomeness of a city like Las Vegas. Do yourself a favor and make sure you take in some of the action the next time they are in a city near you. It’s something you can’t fully grasp through words.