WNBA is totally annoying, here’s how to fix it for Caitlin Clark’s arrival

Professional women’s basketball is a cesspool of mediocrity full of women gatekeeping so the sport can’t change. Fortunately, incoming rookie Caitlin Clark is worth more than the entire WNBA due to her sponsorships. This means that unlike other players, Clark doesn’t work for the WNBA she works for her sponsors and her fans.

Also, Clark broke the most important collegiate record which is women’s basketball ratings on tv:  More people watched the women’s final four than the men’s, and women’s college ratings for a Thursday game were higher than NBA games on Saturday.

Fans love the upcoming collegiate players. Caitlin Clark, Angela Reese, Cameron Brink and Juju Watkins, are the top earning of ALL college athletes right now (nepo kids notwithstanding.) And Caitlin Clark has already exponentially increased the popularity of the team she’ll be drafted to: almost all their games next year will be televised.

So Clark in a great position to transform the league in a similar way to Michael Jordan resuscitated a failing NBA in the 80s. But the WNBA is going to have to make some changes for this to happen.

1. Cut the older players

The WNBA players are delusional about how popular they are and they’re shocked that they play to half empty stadiums. But it’s because the pros are bad players and unlikable, and now they’re complaining about Caitlin Clark  like jealous grade schoolers. Collegiate players don’t play in the WNBA because the women there are bullies and notoriously intolerant of straight women. 

Also, the oldest players in the WNBA are the highest paid, even though they’re clearly not going to get the organization to profitable. So they’re overpaid. The WNBA can’t make big strides without tv time. Fans tune in to see the newcomers play because they’re more talented and more relatable. So cut the older women to free up salaries for younger women who have more exciting games.

2. Get new clothes 

In what world does it work for women to dress like men? WNBA is a product, and the packaging matters. Serena Williams is a template for how top female athletes can take ownership of their clothes. Female sprinters are a celebration of self-expression in competition.

I’m not saying the WNBA should dress like sprinters or volleyball players, but dressing like male basketball players is ridiculous. Why not have each team paired with a designer? That’s effectively what professional tennis has. And esports teams are dressed by designers like Ralph Lauren. It’s good for business, on both sides.

3. Lower the basket

The highest earning women’s sports all adapted for physiological differences in the sexes: beach volleyball has lower nets, golf has closer tees, tennis has fewer sets. The WNBA already have a smaller ball and a shorter 3-point line, so it’s not that big a deal to lower the basket.

This isn’t just about dunking; being closer to the rim gives women like more space to try different things. They can make far more athletic moves when they’re not relying on perfect balance make a layup. That change snowballs — more excitement at the net will in turn allow to develop a more exciting defensive game as well.

4. Add a four-point line

The four-point line changes who can deliver points for the team. Women coming into the WNBA like 3-point ace Sabrina Ionesco  have had the benefit of practicing extremely long shots their whole lives. So of course older players don’t want a 4-point area on the court.

But the WNBA has already tested the 4-pointer, and the game is more exciting because fans love long shots. Also, the score would move faster which is something people like to watch.

5. Allow the game to change

The game the NBA is playing today looks nothing like the game 20 years ago. Double-teaming was illegal before Michael Jordan, now it’s normal. The euro step was initially illegal in the NBA, but now kids get taught that tactic in grade school. There’s no telling how the next crop of players will change the game, but it’s certain that the game will evolve.

The WNBA refuses to let that evolution take place. A lower basket means girls will learn to play differently. The changes to the game are not for the current players as much as they are for the next generation. Women playing basketball now should make space for those girls coming up.

The sport should constantly change which makes the new crop of players threaten the status quo. Sports are exciting that way. The threat and possibility that come with change is part of every profession – even basketball.



8 replies
  1. WelderChick
    WelderChick says:

    “…a cesspool of mediocrity…”
    P, did you forget that you don’t have cancer and your son got into a great school? Your posts are so unnecessarily negative lately, and you’re taking pot shots at really off-beat topics. No one expects little miss sunshine, but between this and your hit job on the royal family, it’s almost like reading the comments section of fox news.
    Are you alright?

      • amy
        amy says:

        I didn’t see this as negative at all. It is well known that the WNBA is funded (at a loss) by the NBA and is not remotely as popular and the players complain about their lower salaries endlessly.
        To approach with new/fresh ideas like you did was a fascinating read. This could be a real oppty for them to relaunch. Wonder if they will.

      • Jessica
        Jessica says:

        I thought Penelope’s suggestions were very interesting and I never would’ve thought of them myself, so I liked this article.

  2. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I liked the post. While it’s critical of the WNBA, it offers helpful suggestions where changes could be made to make it more successful. As you say Penelope, there are other women’s sports that have garnered a lot of attention and have become very popular. This gives me a chance to give a shout-out to my hometown of Utica, NY. We just concluded hosting the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Women’s World Championship. The Canadians just beat the United States team 6-5. In overtime in the championship game. I didn’t go to see any of the games. However, I do know the United States games were SRO. So, I tracked them at their website which has all the scores and highlights at https://www.iihf.com/en/home Getting back to women’s sports, there’s always room for improvement. The winners will listen to constructive criticism.

  3. JJ
    JJ says:

    Someone I don’t know just happened to tell me they wrote an article on this exact same topic and it’s been approved to be published in the NYT. But I’ll know I read it here first. :)

  4. Katie
    Katie says:

    I can’t help it, when I see C. Clarke I see a man. I notice body dimensions. I can’t un-see it. All of the physical ratios are male. Chin/ankles/arm length/neck length/clavicle/wrist circumference/waist. All features. Maybe I’m wrong but I haven’t been before. Which makes the WNBA is a sham, because management would know, which means CC is there to stir it up with the superior skills of a B-grade male. Maybe other players know, and also realise they can’t call it because it’s unprovable, and they are peeved.


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