On Monday, I linked to a post about how little respect the WNBA Finals were getting. In one paper, the tiny mention of their Finals was shoehorned next to ads for massages and nude women. (That blog lost the moral high ground, perhaps, when it later called for WNBA games to be played in skin-tight outfits for the amusement of lusty fans.)
I lost the moral high ground, however, when the WNBA Finals came and went, and I did not write one lousy word them.
I have nothing against the WNBA, and have thoroughly enjoyed watching many games in the past. I have profiled several WNBA players for magazines, and have even been to their All-Star Game.
But the stark truth is that this year I didn't watch any WNBA, and knew next to nothing about it.
Making fun of some paper for dissing the WNBA, while effectively dissing the WNBA?
TrueHoop reader Sarah stepped up to the plate and sent me the e-mail I knew I'd get, telling me that I really ought to have covered the WNBA Finals at least a little.
She was nice enough to agree to my request to write up the top ten reasons why we are idiots for not watching WNBA games. She writes:
10 Reasons that NBA fans are dumb for not caring about the WNBA (and this year's Finals in particular)
1. Detroit managed to almost completely shut down San Antonio team that hadn't lost to an eastern conference team all season (and pre-season) long. This has not even come close to happening in the NBA. I don't care about disparities in season length. It's impressive.
2. Not only did Detroit beat the Silver Stars, they swept -- something that had never been done in the history of the league.
3. The first two of those games were in San Antonio. The final of the three games wasn't even on their home court at the Palace of Auburn Hills, it was at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Not one real home game, but they won every time.
4. Alexis Hornbuckle became the first player to win both an NCAA and WNBA championship in the same year.
5. Taj McWilliams-Franklin is going to be 38 years old this month. She had never won a ring in her 10 years in the league, but this year she was the key to the Shock's success. Make no mistake, Katie Smith may have been the Finals MVP, but without the addition of McWilliams-Franklin during the Olympic break, they would have been out in the first round.
6. The WNBA is a very physically tough game and the athletes play through pain in a way that is may not be smart but is certainly exciting:
In the game between L.A. and Detroit on July 20th, it has been widely misreported that Cheryl Ford tore her ACL in the brawl. In fact, she tore it coming down from a rebound earlier in the game and played on it for a quarter before trying to break up the brawl, when it became impossible to stand from the pain.
In the first round of the playoffs this year, Ebony Hoffman linked both arms with Plenette Pierson as they were boxing out, and then flipped Pierson over her back as though she suddenly thought she was a pro-wrestler. Pierson ended up with a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum (which, after talking to my anatomy professor father, I can tell you probably means mind-numbing agony). After sitting out a couple of games, she played through the extreme discomfort and helped them win. There were times I thought she was going to throw up because of the pain that she was in, but she wouldn't stop playing. This is her right after being flipped.
There are other stories too, like Alana Beard being a 2007 All Star, even when she was playing all season with a shoulder in need of surgery, or, of course, Chastity Melvin's eye popping out last year.
7. Due almost entirely to the fact that the women get paid significantly less than the men, the egos are substantially smaller in the WNBA than in the NBA. It's really refreshing.
8. It's basketball during the summer. Seriously, what basketball fan isn't happy to have professional-level games almost all year long?
9. The way I understand it, for some fans women's college hoops are OK to follow, women's Olympic hoops are good, but women's professional hoops are somehow not cool? I call a really ugly bias against female achievement. I won't use the six-letter word that starts with an "s" and ends with an "ism," but I also won't swear that it doesn't apply.
10. Basketball is basketball. If you don't like this, you don't like basketball.