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WNBA Celebrates the Past, Looks Forward

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After struggling for 15 Years the League’s future is still unclear

By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –

The Sacramento Kings of the NBA are hoping to have a place to play─ when the labor dispute is resolved. The ultra rich and famous Maloof Brothers, owners of the Kings have jettisoned a huge chuck of their once numerous assets to hold on to the team. The city of Sacramento has reached into its legal bag of tricks to keep them from leaving town and stiffing the city with a million dollar plus tab.

Frank McCourt, owner of the Los Angeles is Dodgers finds himself battling insolvency and needing an unlikely miracle after burning through millions and falling out of favor with the league. With an impending payroll due in just under two weeks, League commissioner Bud Selig has signaled that he will take control of the team if McCord falters.

The NFL is locked in a well publicized fight that threatens to wipe out the upcoming season for the nation’s most popular sport.

Owner’s say they desperately need to reel in their expenses and players say they can’t do it on their backs. Any number of sports teams are struggl ing and have nearly unsolvable problems.

Nearly every American is seeing neighbors and friends losing their jobs and struggling to hold on to their homes. These are indeed very difficult times all over the nation’s landscape.

It is in these times, that the fifteen year old WNBA finds itself growing up. At the tender age of 15, most find themselves learning and understanding the concepts necessary to move into adulthood.

Yet, the WNBA at 15 faces many of the same financial pressures that it faced at its beginning through no fault of its own.

The WNBA has a good league, with knowledgeable rabid fans, many as passionate about their game as any in sports. The league is currently loaded with the best group of young stars as at any time in its history.

The current WNBA visibly has everything necessary to be successful.

But, looks don’t tell the complete story. Owned by the NBA, the league has treaded water since the end of the ownership agreement in 2007.

When primary owners started to depart, leading to the demise of the Houston Comets and later the Sacramento Monarchs, many thought this was the end. But, the league responded by shuffling some teams and moving forward.

This is the plight of the current WNBA. Caught in an economic conundrum that is threatening its existence although the league itself has seeming done everything right.

Tuesday evening’s contest between the Los Angeles Sparks and the New York Liberty was set for June 21st to commemorate the WNBA’s inaugural contest between those same two teams on the exact same date 15 years earlier.

With 10,389 fans in attendance on a Tuesday evening in Los Angeles is indicative of a strong following by any measure.

Fifteen years ago Lisa Leslie and Kim Hampton tipped the ball to begin what is now the most successful Women’s Basketball League ever, and yet the league finds itself unsure of its future. We can only hope their success can continue.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

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