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.