All Articles Tagged "WNBA"
Openly gay women’s college basketball star Brittney Griner is having an amazing year that seems to be getting better and better with each passing day. Earlier this month she was selected as the number one overall WNBA draft pick by the Phoenix Mercury.
“It’s humbling, it’s a true honor to be a part of this league. It’s a dream come true. I feel like a little kid in Disney World for the first time. …I definitely felt like I was going to have a heart attack,” the rising star said of Phoenix’s draft selection.
Now, we’ve learned that the 22-year-old Houston native just inked an exclusive endorsement deal with American multinational corporation, Nike. USA Today reports that Griner’s sports agent, Lindsay Kagawa Coles announced the deal.
“It’s big-time, let’s just say that,” Griner said of her new endorsement.
Aside from her stellar athletic ability, Griner is also widely known for her decision to openly discuss her sexuality with Sports Illustrated, “coming out of the closet.”
“It was’t too difficult. I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality… If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way,” she said of her chat with Sports Illustrated.
The soon-to-be WNBA star recently took to her Twitter page to express her excitement about the new partnership with Nike.
Specifics of the endorsement have to be released, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this is a pretty huge deal.
Way to go Brittney!
She was already popular but it looks like Skylar Diggins might be taking her fame to another level.
On Thursday, Diggins, former Notre Dame baller and newest member of the Tusla Shock, tweeted that she’s signed on to be managed by Jay-z latest venture, Roc Nation Sports:
It looks like Roc Nation Sports is quickly building their roster, having already signed football player Victor Cruz and baseball player Robinson Cano. Diggins can now add “first lady of Roc Nation Sports” to her growing profile. If RNS can do a better job managing their athletes than Roc Nation has done with their artists (minus Rihanna), this might be a huge company.
Diggins is already a big favorite among young girls who look up to her as a role model as well as men who want to date her so it shouldn’t be any problem getting all those in between to become fans too. She’s a very pretty young woman so don’t be surprised if we see her doing some modeling and/or makeup ads, sports endorsements and a host of other things.
I wonder what Jay and his team of agents (I can’t imagine he’s managing these major athletes on his own) are up to next!
No.1 Draft Pick Brittney Griner On Being Gay In The WNBA: ‘I’ve Always Been Open About Who I Am And My Sexuality’
It shouldn’t be surprising that the WNBA is a lot more accepting of “alternative lifestyles” than the NBA is, but for No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner it doesn’t make her much nevermind. Before Monday, it was a toss-up whether the Baylor grad would be heading to the WNBA or charting new territory with the Dallas Mavericks, as owner Mark Cuban claimed he’d give the Houston-born baller a shot to try out. But four days ago, the Phoenix Mercury scooped up the 22-year-old before he had a chance to make good on that offer, and from an interview with Sports Illustrated it’s clear she already feels at home.
Asked along with the No. 2 and 3 draft picks, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins, why coming out in women’s sports is more accepted as opposed to men’s, Brittney said:
“I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different. Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are. Don’t worry about what other people are going to say, because they’re always going to say something, but, if you’re just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don’t hide who you really are.”
At 6’8″ it’s hard for Brittney to hide much — a reality that made being “out” much less of a deal for her, she told SI when asked whether it was difficult for her to be openly gay.
“It really wasn’t too difficult, I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So, it wasn’t hard at all. If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.”
Whether the NBA adopts such an open and accepting attitude — along with the NFL and other predominately male sports — remains to be seen. But so far, it looks like we can chop up the WNBA’s LGBTQ acceptance as yet another example of how women are surpassing men.
For WNBA star, Shyra Ely-Gash, before there was basketball, there was fashion. Her earliest memories consist of her childhood self sprawled out on the floor sketching outfits.
Somewhere between then and now, she picked up a basketball. The game took her to the University of Tennessee, one of women’s basketball’s most prestigious collegiate programs, and allowed her to travel the world playing in American and European professional leagues.
Shyra has lived a life little girls dream about, and I’ve had a front row seat to her journey (we’re cousins). Growing up, I remember her having a rambunctious personality. One that still allows her to make fast friends with almost anyone and give off an aura that she could succeed at whatever she attempts.
Now her mind is set on fashion. Three years ago she made her personal shopping duties for friends and family into a second profession, launching her styling company, Styles By M.E. (the M.E. is Ms. Ely.) Initially targeting the women’s basketball community, it has since grown to include a diverse clientele, an online boutique, and originally designed pieces set to launch this year.
I sat down to talk with the self-described “glamazon” about gender stereotypes, and how a setback in one career helped her take the other to the next level.
MN: How did you know entrepreneurship was for you?
Shyra: I know the type of person I am. Being an athlete and having my own schedule, I know I’m not the type to work for someone else. I knew I had to be my own boss. When I realized I couldn’t study fashion design in college, I went into retail and consumer science. It’s still in the field, but it gives me that business background.
MN: Why do you think there is a belief that women can’t be both athletic and feminine?
Shyra: That is probably what I will go to my deathbed trying to disprove. I’m not sure why we feel that way. I didn’t really find myself until I was about 13 or 14 as far as owning my femininity. I remember going to an AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] tournament down south, the players went out, and I didn’t have anything to wear. I was the oddball out. All my teammates had on their girly, dressy clothes. I was thinking because I was tall [and was always around boys, I had to wear boys' clothes]. From that moment I said, I’m not going to be someone else. I’m a chick and I like looking like a girl, so that’s what I’m going to do.
MN: How do those two aspects of you, fashionista and athlete, blend together?
Shyra: I’m a businesswoman. My business is basketball. So on the court I’m going to be dressed in my business attire. Off the court, I’m a businesswoman of a different kind. So, I’ll be dressed in my business attire. Playing a male-dominated sport doesn’t take any of my femininity away.
I’m an athlete. I have muscles. I take care of my body. On the court, within the limitations – I’m not going to have on four-inch nails – my nails are painted, I wear a little makeup, and my hair is done. I’m just not going to not be me because of what I’m doing or where I work.
MN: How does being an athlete influence how you approach the business of fashion?
Shyra: I have a very strong competitive spirit. I compete in everything I do — whether against myself, time, whatever. When I got hurt last year and wasn’t able to play [a torn ACL in May ended her season with the Indiana Fever early], I’m thankful I had another area to channel that energy. I’m always thinking and trying to stay up on the latest. I’ll see someone in an outfit and think, “How can I make that look better? What would I do differently with that?” I love challenges.
MN: Why styling?
Shyra: The best feelings I get aren’t from what people are wearing but how they feel about themselves afterwards. To see the change in their confidence level, that’s huge. That’s the greatest reward. I love when I’m on the phone giving my clients pep talks, telling them, “You can wear this, don’t be afraid.” People don’t realize you can make anything look good if you’ve got the confidence to rock it. That’s the secret!
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Woman Scorned: Former WNBA Player Arrested For Shooting Into Ex-Girlfriend’s Car, Breaking Windows With A Bat
Love can be a beautiful thing, but when folks get hurt, it can definitely get ugly–and fast.
Just ask former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw, who went postal on the vehicle of her 29-year-old ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Lacy, who plays in the WNBA, currently for the Tulsa Shock. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Holdsclaw, 35, turned herself in to police at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Thursday and was charged with aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and reckless conduct. Her bond is $10,000.
According to reports, while Lacy was working out at a church on Tuesday, Holdsclaw approached the young woman and said she needed to put some things in Lacy’s vehicle. Well, Lacy let her do so, and when the young woman was getting ready to leave the church after the fact, she smelled gasoline in her car and noticed that Holdsclaw was following her in her own car. According to the AJC, when Lacy tried to lose her by stopping at a friend’s house, Holdsclaw still followed her, jumped out of her car and proceeded to bust the rear, passenger and driver side windows out of her car with a bat. Holdsclaw then pulled a gun out and fired into the car. Lacy must not have been in the vehicle at this point because windows being broken and shots being fired usually would land somebody in the hospital. Holdsclaw then fled the scene and left the gun at the scene of the crime, where the police found it. Lacy was not hurt in the chaotic mess.
Holdsclaw was at one time in her career the number one draft pick in the WNBA, and was one of the standout players in the league year after year for a career that found her playing for about 12 seasons. But her shocking behavior might be the result of a battle with depression, as the former WNBA star once revealed that early in her career, through the book, Breaking Through: Beating The Odds Shot After, that she had a bout of depression she couldn’t seem to shake. According to the AJC, she is even the spokeswoman for an organization called Active Minds that seeks to educate people about how to get better when they’re struggling with mental health issues. It’s just a shame she let her rage get the best of her that she had to take it THIS far.
Indianapolis stand up!… Oh, okay it’s just me? Well, alright. I’ll just have to celebrate the fact that my hometown WNBA team, the Indiana Fever, won their first championship last night by myself. Admittedly, I don’t follow the WNBA…like at all. I guess I’m a product of my environment and the society that just doesn’t place much emphasis on female sports. (I’ll try to do better next year.)
Either way, a celebration is still in order for the ladies of the Fever, who defeated the Minnesotda Lynx 87-78. Tamika Catchings, who has played with the Fever throughout her entire WNBA career, was awarded MVP after scoring 25 points last night. Even if you have just a cursory knowledge of women’s basketball, chances are you’ve heard Tamika’s name before. During her career, Catchings has received almost every accolade awarded to female basketball players. She was named All-American in high school and as a Lady Volunteer at the notorious University of Tennessee, earned rookie of the year in 2002, played for the Olympics and 2004 and nabbed MVP for her first championship win.
Catchings, who has been in the league since 2002, had this to say about her team’s victory:
“When you come into this league, your goal and dream is to win a WNBA championship,” Catchings said. “Twelve years later … it’s so sweet right now.”’
The win was particularly hard fought for the Fever, who beat out the Lynx, the winners of last year’s championship. Had they won, the Lynx would have been the first WNBA team to win back to back championships since the LA Sparks in 2001 and 2002.
Minnesota guard, Lindsay Whalen, attributed the Fever’s win to their good defense and ability to keep Minnesota out of the shooting lane.
The Fever, who have been coached by Lin Dunn since 2008, lost their first WNBA final in 2009. Team member Erin Phillips said knowing the history of their team, she’s relieved they won it all this time around:
“I’m just relieved more than anything because we deserve this,” Phillips said. “We’ve been through so much as a team, we’ve lost in crucial times and we’ve stuck together. I’m just so proud right now.”
Meet Laurel J. Richie, President of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Smart, independent and professional, this top level exec of the WNBA is poised to take the organization to the next level. A marketing exec prior to joining the WNBA, Richie is excited about her new role and is dedicated to encouraging women and girls through her position. Successful, optimistic and charismatic, find out why she’s the boss.
Marion Jones has certainly led an interesting life. One with plenty of peaks and valleys. One minute she was the star of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia and the next she was being arrested for perjury.
Black Enterprise’s Marc Lamont Hill will sit down and speak with the mother and athlete in a candid interview about where she’s going from here.
Find out where you can watch the interview at Black Enterprise.com.
After retiring from the LA Sparks in 2009, Lisa Leslie continued to be involved in women’s basketball as a fan and sports announcer. She has now rejoined the WNBA community as a co-owner of the Sparks — a first in the history of the league. By recently joining the group that owns the team, Lisa Leslie has become the first former player to invest in the WNBA in it’s 15-year history. Clutch magazine online reports:
[T]he former LA Sparks legend joined chairperson Paula Madison and investors Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson in the team’s ownership group.
Leslie, a University of Southern California grad, is used to being first. She was the first woman to dunk in a game, the first to reach 6,000 career points, and now she is the first WNBA player to invest in a professional basketball team.
Leslie told reporters she’s excited and proud to be a member of the Sparks’ ownership group.
“After spending over a decade playing with the Sparks and then the last two season as both a fan and team broadcaster, I couldn’t be happier to rejoin the organization formally as a business partner and team ambassador,” Leslie told NBC4 news. “I look forward to being as asset to the Sparks in the areas of marketing and community outreach.”
Seattle Times blogger Jayda Evans praises Leslie’s move, which shows her love for the game by promoting and developing the WNBA using her own funds. But Evans brings up another very interesting point underlying the fact that Leslie is the first WNBA star to invest over such a long period of time: the terribly low level of female players’ salaries.
(ESPN) — As vice chairman of Monumental Sports and Entertainment which owns the Washington Mystics, Wizards and Capitals, Sheila Johnson is the first African-American woman to own a part of three sports franchises. On top of that, Johnson co-founded the BET Network, has become a documentary filmmaker and also runs a hospitality business. Johnson talked about growing the WNBA, her philanthropic work and her business success as part of our Power Players series on women in the sports industry.
espnW: As the managing partner, president and part owner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and also an owner of the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards, you’re the first African-American woman to own a piece of three teams. What does it feel like to make history?
Sheila Johnson: It’s empowering. It really is. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Women do not get this kind of opportunity. I have to give credit to Abe Pollin [former owner of Washington Sports and Entertainment] for giving me the chance to do this and then Ted Leonsis [owner of Monumental Sports] for letting me buy into the teams.