How newsworthy is it in 2021 if a current professional athlete comes out during his or her career? Kate Scott: I think it depends on the league now. We’ve seen the WNBA and NWSL continue to lead the way when it comes to the inclusion and celebration and thus, normalization of their LGBTQ+ athletes. Meanwhile, it’s been 40 years since MLB had an openly gay active player. I just finished reading “Singled Out,” the Andrew Maraniss-written book on former Dodgers and A’s outfielder Glenn Burke, and that absolutely blew my mind. Forty years! Then I realized the NFL and most of the other professional men’s leagues in the U.S. have never had an openly gay active athlete, so hey, 40 years ain’t so bad! What I’m trying to get at is it would be a massive deal if an active NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL player were to come out and I truly hope someone or a group of players band together soon to do just that.
Jeff Metcalfe: Rick Welts will be honored by Phoenix #Mercury at Friday’s game for his role in launching the #WNBA 25 years ago when he was in the NBA office and then working for Phoenix Suns … he is recently retired as Golden State Warriors president/CEO
The Las Vegas Aces are off to a stellar 6-3 start to their season and Thursday night’s 94-82 victory over the New York Liberty took head coach Bill Laimbeer to second place in career wins (288), passing former Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm head coach Brian Agler. Laimbeer was a four-time All Star and two-time champion during his days in the NBA. Since retiring in 1993, he’s seen similar success in the realm of coaching, leading the WNBA’s Detroit Shock to three championships during his 2002-2009 reign.
The WNBA’s 25th season is off to a roaring start. After the league’s “Wubble” season last year, WNBA viewership is up 74% on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 through the first five games of the 2021 season — an average of 357,000 viewers per game. Opening weekend saw a 325% increase in Canadian viewership — and that’s without a Canada-based team.
Today, Amazon and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced a multi-year agreement giving Prime Video exclusive global streaming rights to 16 WNBA games per season, as well as the Commissioner’s Cup Game on Sunday, August 12.
The first nine games airing on Prime Video this season are part of the WNBA’s inaugural Commissioner’s Cup, which is an in-season competition that designates a portion of regular-season games—10 games per team—as Cup play. The team from each conference with the top record in designated Cup games will then compete for The Commissioner Cup Championship and a special prize pool.
Nick DePaula: BREAKING: @WNBA Finals MVP @BreannaStewart has signed with @PUMAhoops — and will receive her own Signature Shoe in the future. Stewie will become just the 10th player in #WNBA history with a Signature Shoe, the 1st in 10 years. She discussed the milestone with @Boardroom: pic.twitter.com/eAV6ANwxWg