If you're like most sports fans, you probably haven't paid much attention to the women's basketball league that was born 13 years ago.
You've probably made a few jokes about the WNBA, dismissing it as a relevant sports league.
Well, its time to start paying attention. If you haven't seen a game (or a few minutes of one) in a while, turn on the 2009 WNBA finals. Things have changed.
The league has grown and matured tremendously since its 1996 inception. It's time to become a fan, like I did last season. Let me tell you why.
1. The Women of the WNBA are more talented than ever
The ultimate compliment to a WNBA player is to say "she play's like a guy", and more and more players are getting this compliment.
The gap between Men and Women's talent in basketball, continues to narrow. In the last few years we have seen things we've never seen from a female basketball player.
We've seen Candace Parker dunk in traffic, Diana Taurasi swish a double-clutch fade-away jumper, and Cappie Pondexter shake her defender with a double-crossover.
More and more young girls are falling in love with basketball. They're watching both NBA and WNBA players and developing the same skills.
2. The Pace of the Game has Quickened
A few years ago, the WNBA instituted a 24-second shot clock and changed from two 20-minute halves, to four 10-minute quarters. In addition, the rising talent has allowed several teams to adopt a run-and-gun style of play.
Earlier this week, a record was set for the most points scored in a WNBA Finals game, when the Mercury defeated the Fever 120-116 in overtime. Keep in mind that games are eight minutes shorter than NBA games.
If you translate the 105-105 score at the end of regulation to an NBA score (48 minutes rather than 40 minutes), you get 126-126. This gives you an idea of the rate at which points are being scored.
3. Diana Taurasi is one of the best female basketball players of all time
Don't miss the chance to see her at her best. This is probably one of the few names in Women's basketball that you recognize.
Diana Taurasi, already considered one of the greats, is playing at an all new level. She just received her first league MVP award earlier this week. She is averaging 24 ppg, 5 rpg, and 5.5 apg, in just 30 minutes per game.
I watched her take over in the fourth quarter of an elimination game against the Silver Stars in the first round of the playoffs. She hit clutch shot after clutch shot over defenders to lead her team to a come-from-behind victory.
4. There is no better sporting event for the family or for this economy
If you have a WNBA team near you, and haven't been to a game, give it a chance. I will be at Game Two tonight, with my two and a half year old son and six month old daughter.
We've been to a few games over the last two seasons and have really enjoyed ourselves. The environment is enjoyable, entertaining and family-friendly.
With this economy, a lot of sports fans find it hard to make it to events. Going to a WNBA game can be quite a bit less expensive than going to the movies. And its a lot more interactive for the kids.
5. To support the one professional sport that provides female role models for young female athletes
Young female athletes need more public role models. The women of the WNBA have proven to be outstanding role models.
I am a huge fan of the NBA and NFL. I know that they will survive whether i chose to watch a game, purchase a ticket, wear a jersey, or not.
But I know that what little support I can offer to the WNBA does make a difference.
So take a moment tonight to tune in to Game Two of the WNBA finals and give it a chance.