I know I will never forget my first WNBA basketball game. It was the inaugural season, the inaugural game in Madison Square Garden, June 27, 1997. The president of the WNBA Val Ackerman tossed the ball up in center court as cameras recorded Kim Hampton of the New York Liberty and Lisa Leslie of the L.A. Sparks reached to tip the ball. This was a huge event and the crowd's noise level was a complete acknowledgement of that fact. Madison Square Garden was packed, the lights went out and the screams got louder; this was history.
The announcement of the WNBA came with mixed regards. There were those who thought that it took the United States long enough, and there were those who did not understand the point of having a professional women's basketball team. I find myself to this day defending the ideas many have about women's basketball - collegiate and otherwise. The regular comments are: 'It's too slow!' 'The scores are so low!' 'There's nothing to watch!' 'They don't dunk!' All the silly ignorant comments. My male cousin still refuses to even watch a game; he just doesn't see the point. My sentiments were more in regard to the amount it took for the WNBA to be formed. As a young basketball player I shared the dream of becoming the first woman in the NBA. (There had to be some goal!) Although those before me, possessing the greater talent were not able to do it, perhaps they were simply paving the way for me. I continued with the basketball camps, the leagues, and the school teams. I was eventually astonished to learn that there actually existed a Professional Women's basketball league. The only problem was that it was an ocean and a couple time zones away. I did not unders...
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...d businesses. There was finally a women's basketball league, but the salary of the league alone could not support its players. The women were out there on the court for fun all over again. But it did not seem to bother the players. They were having fun living their dream.
The WNBA is a young organization so there is room for improvement. If the first year were perfect than there would leave no room for improvement. The social and cultural benefits of the league's creation cannot be ignored. Women's basketball will never be the same. I trust that the success of the WNBA will spawn the creation of more forums where collegiate women can pursue their professional career. The most talented young girls hope to find themselves in the draft heading to one of the WNBA teams. Unfortunately, they simultaneously have to fill out job applications and buy that interview suit.
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