I share your frustration and fear. I’ve been freelancing in this space for a decade, trying to convince editors there is an audience for this and now that publications are finally covering it, I’m *still* not getting the assignments. So much nuance is being lost, the coverage feels juvenile and uninformed. It feels like spending all this time helping set the table and then when it’s ready, they take away your seat.

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Fun read Lindsey. Agreed, women's basketball is enjoying a good market ride. The ride is a wave. Most of us are standing on the shore gazing in amazement at this wave. ESPN Viewed the wave, wrongly, for decades as a ripple. Its not. It large and sustainable and will be for decades. Good news, ESPN is a male centered sports media complex with very little story telling abilities in women's sports. Women's sports is a story, a story that needs to be told and retold by writers like you.

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Thank you for this excellent article, Lindsay.

You are right about the backlash that is sure to follow, as you cite with historical precedents in the 1920s. It also happened soon after basketball was invented when intercollegiate games began in 1896. Basketball was the most popular women's sport. Some of the harshest critics were women, including basketball pioneer Senda Berenson of Smith College, who criticized the "unladylike" manner of the players, and Clara Baer, who divided the court into thirds limiting player movement. The popularity of intercollegiate women's basketball, particularly at Stanford and Cal, and the perceived excessive fervor over the rivalry, led to its cancellation by the faculty in 1900.

This is a broad generalization, but women's basketball seems to be on a trajectory not that historically different from the men's game.

The men's college basketball tournament began in 1939. Thirty years later John Wooden's UCLA dynasty was dominant.

The women's college basketball tournament began in 1982. Thirty years later Gino Auriemma's UConn dynasty was dominant.

The NBA began in 1945 and through the 1970s the TV ratings were abysmal. The NBA championship games played during the week were aired on tape-delay at 11:30 at night. 

More than 30 years later the rookie rivalry of Magic Johnson & Larry Bird gave the NBA its boost and the skills of Michael Jordan & other great athletes grew it into the stratosphere.

The WNBA began play in 1997, and 27 years later it seems primed to experience a rookie-rivalry boost with Caitlyn & Angel, and a talented crop of other young women players poised to display their great athletic skills.

This is not to say that both leagues lacked stars earlier. Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, etc. were not scrubs. Neither were Swoops, Lobo, Leslie, Cooper, Parker etc. But none of them drew the TV ratings of the generation that followed.

So I am optimistic about the future of the women's game and look forward to you and other women writing about it and everyone who loves basketball showing their support by watching it despite the inevitable trolls and haters and setbacks.

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Thanks for your insightful article. I would not dismiss capitalism's power in devaluing women's sports. First, most capitalists are men. While the WNBA is a team of women, the NBA controls its growth to keep it from interfering with the NBA's profits.

For example, when the Liberty players wore Black Lives Matter tee shirts as a protest against cops' killings of Black people, Dolan kicked the team out of Madison Square Garden and placed them in an ancient theater with a dressing room on the fourth floor. They played on a stage. Many players were injured that year and had their careers cut short. Some did not find new positions on other teams.  

The current management of Liberty is player-friendly. The Tsais sent their team on a charter flight to ease the difficulty for players. These inappropriate accommodations have been known to damage the players physically. The WNBA fined the owners $500,000 for "violating" WNBA rules. College players fly charter flights. European teams fly first class. The WNBA players fly three-stop commercial flights. The NBA uses capitalist excuses to let women know they are just a minor commodity no matter how this practice impacts their bodies.  

Capitalism means men have control over women's sports. The current leadership of the WNBA is a female capitalist who isn't interested in challenging the reductionist leadership of the NBA and the owners. Until the last labor negotiations, the players' contracts did not include coverage for reproductive medical expenses. WNBA players went for twenty-five years without this benefit!

Yes, male sports writers are often vicious toward female players. We are also seeing a rise in fewer black basketball players at the college level, which will translate to teams hiring more white players. For example, there needed to be more coverage of the South Carolina Champions this year. Their best player, Kamilla Cardoso, was drafted third. This is a fight that needs to be fought continuously on all levels. Keep up the excellent work.

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This is so good!

It will be interesting to see what the people who are in charge of the W do with the success. Plus, what is the league without CP?!

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