Thursday, July 13, 2006

WNBA All-Star Game

After attending last night's 10th anniversary game, I feel as if I can say this: Remember when the WNBA's slogan was "We Got Next"? Well I hope that they don't think that they have next at Rucker Park or West 4th Street or the local YMCA. Because if they do, they may not last another 10 years...or 10 minutes on the court. Look below and you will see the game about to tip off. Notice 7'2" Margo Dydek, who is head and shoulders above the rest of the players. Too bad she plays like Gheorghe Muresan, a female Gheorghe Muresan!

I had other thoughts about the game as well:

-Many players were injured, so they did not suit up for the game. They were forced to wear business casual dress. Boy did they look uncomfortable. I guess they prefer the comfort of tank tops with shorts. Not such a bad thing.

-Why was there so much dancing? During every timeout (luckily not so many), there would be an insane amount of dancing on the court. First, it was the Liberty Torch Patrol (the regular cheerleaders, a mix of men and women), then it was the Lil' Torches (the junior dance team of kids 10 and under it seemed), and finally a dance off featuring the Timeless Torches (a bunch of old people). I guess women and families like this stuff? It seems hard to believe.

-The make up (zing!) of the audience became even more clear to me when I tried to go to the bathroom. I had to walk halfway around the stadium because a men's room had become a women's room!

-12,998 people attended this game, way more than the usual 15 fans. Ok, I kid, there are normally 8,000 fans or so at a WNBA game. I guess it's good for families because tickets are so cheap and readily available. A little like minor league baseball.

-WNBA salaries appear to range from $30,000 to $90,000. Seems perfectly reasonable.

-Now, finally, to the level of play and my impressions there. First of all, there is zero doubt in my mind that a good high school boys team would run a WNBA All-Star team off the court. Oak Hill Academy, for example, would win by 30 points or more probably. The level of play was shockingly low. I know that it was an all-star game, so people were fooling around a lot, but good basketball players do not miss shots like these women missed. A bunch off the side of the backboard, others missing rim entirely, it was not pretty. The West shot 36 % from the field against a half-effort defense. The turnovers (36 total in 40 minutes) were often of the ugly variety as well. To be fair, these women are generally pretty good at one thing: spot-up shooting. They shoot open jumpers fairly well. But make them move around and things change in a hurry. There were a few pretty passes and nice drives to the basket, but on the whole I was unimpressed with these players to say the least. The ugliest part of the game was the last 20 seconds, when it became a dunk contest. Not like an NBA dunk contest where players do cool moves. Three different women simply tried to dunk, period. One woman barely made it on her second try (and got way too much applause), while the other two didn't really come close.

-I did enjoy the game however as a spectacle and a learning experience. I leave you with a photo of a shot that probably didn't go in.

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