NBA Lockout: Do Not Look for WNBA Sympathy or Support

Joye Pruitt@joyethewarSenior Analyst IJuly 5, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30:  Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern announces that a lockout will go ahead as NBA labor negotiations break down at Omni Hotel on June 30, 2011 in New York City. The NBA has locked out the players after they were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA is due to expire tonight at midnight.    (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The NBA lockout has been official for a short while now. As soon as the lockout was formally announced to the media, NBA players quickly took to Twitter, the new conversation module, to tweet odd job opportunities they had found or are willing to take part in during their downtime.

Writers are jumping on the "blame the WNBA" bandwagon in order to validate the NBA owners’ claims that teams are losing money instead of making it. Seems a little gender-biased than factual, seeing as how no fact in the world supports the argument.

In an article from Deseret News by Brad Rock, Utah Starzz guard Tammi Reiss shows less than wavering support for the lockout situation her male counterparts are going through.

"I don't sympathize with them anymore," she said flatly. "We hope that as (WNBA) players, that's not what we're about," said Reiss. "That's how the majority of us feel. I'm not quite sure—and only time will tell—what the NBAPA will do and what kind of tactics they'll use and how we'll be represented. We don't have a say in that now. But as players we'd like to see the integrity and all the values that made us a special league continue intact. Personally, I question the tactics of the players' union, and they'll have to win me over."

The WNBA athletes average only about $25,000 a year, so to say they do not sympathize with a bunch of millionaires crying foul is accurate. Therefore, when writers speak of how the league of women is contributing to the downfall of the revenue of the NBA, I get a little confused.

Did you know that Lisa Leslie, one of the greatest women basketball players in the history of the sport, was making the maximum salary of $91,000 in 2006? This was a year before she was videoed making the first dunk in a WNBA game. In the 2006 season, she averaged 20 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Baron Davis has only averaged 20-plus points a season three times in his career and is due $14 million dollars. That speaks volumes to how highly the NBA is regarded in comparison to the WNBA and how ludicrous it is to speculate the revenue of the NBA is effected at all by the salaries of the women’s league.

In one and a half months, Reiss has made 40 charity appearances.  NBA stars barely make half that many in a season. Sure you could say that this is due to an NBA player’s hefty schedule, but I would just say the women are a little more dedicated to their causes. NBA players act much more entitled than WNBA players, which would probably be a direct correlation between the attention they receive and owners’ proneness to overpay even the benchwarmers.

However, look at how women basketball players must keep in shape in the offseason, while holding down a side job, because they were only paid 25 grand during a three-month season. Of course, to a person of the general public, $25,000 in three months is a come up. But as an athlete it seems a bit much to expect over-the-top training from a person who must be concerned with paying their bills.

Do NBA players have this to worry about?

During the lockout, players may joke about having to find a job in the wake of a lockout, many were prepared for it. Even the most inactive player of this season, Greg Oden, has an $8 million-tender on the table from the Portland Trailblazers.

While the NBAPA wants to fuss and fight with owners about how much they have to give back or how unfair the NBA’s new rules may be, they should look deeper into the future before making any brash decisions. It is a fact that smaller-market teams are losing money more than making it, and that cannot continue.

NBA players feel as if the system in place should stay as is. Even if NBA owners were to cut back, the athletes’ single-year salary would be at least five times as much as the entire WNBA’s.

The WNBA has the right to scowl at the current labor situation of the NBA. This is another interesting fact from Rock’s article.

After paying an agent, taxes in every WNBA city and other out of pocket expenses, a WNBA player who earns $20,000 may see only $14,000.

Sorry guys, but the WNBA will have to take their foot out of the circle for this one.


Follow Klaibourne on Twitter: @nyhlaabee


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