Let’s do a little test. When I say these words, what do you think of? Storm. Sparks. Shock. Sun. Sky. Silver Stars. Anything yet? Let’s read some more words. Dream. Lynx. Liberty. Mercury. Mystics. Fever. Give up?
I just read you all the teams that play in the WNBA. That’s right, this blog is about women’s basketball. Before you hit the “Close” button, let me explain why I’m writing about this.
I don’t think women get enough publicity playing basketball, in college or professionally. Some people that I know say that “It’s just not as fun to watch.” While some of the rules are different, such as the shot clock and the 3-point line, it’s still fundamentally basketball. You have a ball, you dribble, you shoot, you score the most points and win. Maybe people don’t like it because of the lack of dunks, but those don’t award any extra points.
If you are not familiar with the WNBA, let me paint a picture of where the teams are. Most teams have a brother program in the NBA, either by a dual ownership or just sharing a city with. The only exceptions are the Connecticut Sun, the Tulsa Shock, and the Seattle Storm (after the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City as the Thunder.)
Currently, there are twelve teams currently playing ball. There have been nine other teams to play, with the majority of them just relocating and adding a new identity. There have been a few franchises that just shut down, such as the Cleveland Rockers and the Portland Fire. When the league began playing in 1997, there were eight teams all owned by the NBA. You had the Charlotte Sting, Cleveland, the Houston Comets, and the New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference. In the west, the Los Angeles Sparks, the Phoenix Mercury, the Utah Starzzz, and the Sacramento Monarchs.
Today, three teams are still running their same franchise from 1997. The Utah team moved to San Antonio to become the Silver Stars. The Charlotte Sting folded, despite seeing two NBA brother teams in the Hornets and the Bobcats. The Rockers folded in 2003, the Comets (despite being a successful franchise with four championships) in 2008, and the Monarchs (one time champion) in 2009. There would also be a Miami Sol team from 2000-2002, lasting a mere two seasons.
However, there would be more cities granted WNBA franchises. Atlanta is the newest team on the block, joining the league in 2008. The Chicago Sky is the second youngest team, playing in 2006. Fun fact, the Chicago team used to play at the UIC Pavilion, which is a conference rival with Wright State.
There has been jokes about the WNBA not having fans or any famous players. While there isn’t the rich history like the NBA has, which started out in 1946-1947 after World War Two. There isn’t the eras as well, like the Michael Jordon era and the Larry Bird era. Remember though, the WNBA doesn’t have the history because it was formed in 1997. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been great players. I can name a few like Candace Parker (Tennessee grad), retired L.A. Sparks star Lisa Leslie (Southern Cal grad), Tamika Catchings (another Tenn grad), and Tina Thompson (another USC grad, started playing with the Comets). I could disagree and say that there was the Houston Comets era, followed by the domination by the Detroit Shock (yes, that same team that moved to Tulsa.)
To wrap up this whole blog, the WNBA is just as good as the NBA. The only real differences is the three-point line, the seasons, and the genders. It’s still an enjoyable round of basketball. If you live in Southwest Ohio, the closest source of a team is in Indianapolis.
Until next time dear readers.