WNBA Rumors

On both the NBA and the WNBA app, there is now a tap to cheer option, which would allow fans to virtually cheer for their favorite teams. At the end of the game, the total cheers are tallied and shown on a scoreboard. At the end of the season, the fans from teams with top three total taps will be invited to participate in a virtual roundtable with that team’s players, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream — which started their season last week — said.
Aerial Powers: We deal with disrespect on the daily so for someone like you @andre to tweet that off the same device u could have looked me up on is unacceptable. Mind you commentator said my name. Would it have been the same if I was a guy?Look at the pic. I didn’t forget . I SAID WHAT I SAID!

Pandora is launching UNINTERRUPTED Radio, a brand new and exclusive station that features music selected by top NBA and WNBA players. With UNINTERRUPTED, listeners get access to the very soundtracks that top athletes listen to on and off the court, including those curated and used by LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Trae Young, A’ja Wilson, Draymond Green, Lonzo Ball, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Tobias Harris, Angel McCoughtry and others.
NBA players had discussed the possibility of placing the names of the victims of police brutality on the backs of their jerseys, but instead were told that they could choose from a list of 29 social justice messages that were approved by the league. Roberts explained that the decision not to go with individual names was, in part, because, “My personal fears, there are a lot of brothers and sisters who have been killed. What if we exclude someone who was killed? George Floyd but not Tamir Rice?” Instead of offending the families that might be omitted, the NBA chose to remove the option. Baker was fine with that decision. “I kind of like that they didn’t do it,” she said. “As I said on the WNBA call, since that was their initial idea, let them have that, and let them be recognized that it’s Black women, because otherwise, they would’ve been overshadowed if the NBA decided to do that. So, let the women have that.”
WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson pitched the idea to the union’s executive committee and they all supported the effort. Jackson then sought permission from Palmer to use Taylor’s name on jerseys and T-shirts, a gesture that endeared the WNBA’s plans with the family. They agreed proceeds from sales of the shirts could go toward a newly-established Breonna Taylor foundation. “It was just an idea that really took off,” McCoughtry said. “It was one of those things, you heard Dwight Howard, some other NBA players, say, ‘Oh, it’s a distraction,’ and that kind of stuff. And I was like, ‘It’s not a distraction. We can use our platform, to play. People look up to us, they listen, they’re fans. We can use this.’ You see (Dwight’s) out there now, playing. It goes to show, our platforms are powerful. We have to use them. And we have to be grateful that we have jobs and go out there and perform.”
“For us, part of our mission to promote the WNBA and also the New York Liberty is to put women’s professional basketball on the same footing as the men’s basketball team,” Tsai said in a zoom interview Monday. “We own the Nets and also have the Liberty and it doesn’t make sense for us to treat them as one subsidiary of the other. They should be co-equals.”

Kyrie Irving commits $1.5M to help pay WNBA players

Kyrie Irving is making sure WNBA players can sit out the season and not stress about a paycheck. The Brooklyn Nets star is committing $1.5 million to supplement the income of players who choose not to play this season, whether it be because of coronavirus concerns or social justice reasons. The funds will come from the KAI Empowerment Initiative that Irving launched Monday. It will also provide players with a financial literacy program created by UBS.
Irving said that with the help of WNBA players Natasha Cloud — who chose to sit out — and Jewell Loyd, he connected with several WNBA players who discussed with him the challenges they faced in deciding whether to play. The season began Saturday and will be played entirely at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. He decided to help with the financial burden in a league where the top annual salary is a little more than $200,000. “Whether a person decided to fight for social justice, play basketball, focus on physical or mental health, or simply connect with their families, this initiative can hopefully support their priorities and decisions,” Irving said in a statement.
Late NBA Commissioner David Stern has been added to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction class. Commissioner of the NBA from 1984-2014, Stern was Instrumental in the founding of the WNBA and a longtime supporter of the women’s game. He died Jan. 1 at age 77 a few weeks after a brain hemorrhage. The enshrinement of the Class of 2020 has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until next year. The ceremony will be held on June 12, 2021.
It’s not often you hear a two-time NBA MVP referred to as a “system player.” But that’s exactly how ESPN’s Bomani Jones views Warriors star Steph Curry, as he shared on his podcast Friday. “He’s got sick handle and all that stuff. There’s something different,” Jones said on “The Right Time with Bomani Jones.” “It’s hard to explain what it is with Steph, but Steph is somehow like the greatest system player of all time. And I’m not saying that to shade him. But you are not going 1-4 flat and being like, ‘Get us a bucket.’ ” Curry seemed to respond with a veiled reference to the comments while praising Bay Area native and 2020 WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu in her professional debut. “And shout out to all the system players in the @WNBA,” Curry said. “We get it done.”
The NBA season is set to resume Thursday at Walt Disney World, but a little over 100 miles away at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the WNBA season tipped off Saturday. Under normal circumstances, the NBA and WNBA seasons don’t overlap, which usually leads to many NBA players attending WNBA games during what is their typical offseason. But nothing about this season has been typical, so while the WNBA was beginning its regular season, the majority of the NBA was ramping up scrimmage activity in Orlando. Still, multiple players found ways to show love to their WNBA counterparts, including wearing orange hoodies with the league’s logo to support the opening of the WNBA season.
2 weeks ago via ESPN
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler, a close ally of Trump and co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, thinks players seeking social justice may put off some fans, which is a bottom-line analysis rather than a passion to do the right thing. Loeffler reads from the same dog-eared playbook of most racists-in-denial pontificating from their plantation porch. She first claims she’s not racist, then delivers massively inaccurate justifications for being selectively racist: “There’s no room for racism in this country, and we have to root it out where it exists. But there’s a political organization called Black Lives Matter that I think is very important to make the distinction between their aim and where we are as a country at this moment. The Black Lives Matter political organization advocates things like defunding and abolishing the police, abolishing our military, emptying our prisons, destroying the nuclear family. It promotes violence and antisemitism. To me, this is not what our league stands for.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: It’s disturbing that she doesn’t know (or does know and prefers lying) that Black Lives Matter is not a monolithic organization but an affiliation of activist groups. She chooses to spout fear-inducing lies to rally racists: Abolish police? Abolish military? Empty prisons? Destroy the nuclear family? Being truth-challenged is one reason the WNBA players’ association has asked the commissioner to remove Loeffler as a co-owner. If we were to “root it out where it exists”, we would start with Loeffler, Dan Snyder and Woody Johnson. Which brings up the question of what to do with racists who own sports teams. Loeffler insists, “They can’t push me out for my views. I intend to own the team. I am not going.” I agree that owners shouldn’t be pushed out for their views, but for their behavior if that behavior promotes hate toward marginalized groups, because we know that such hate often leads to violence against them. Even when it doesn’t directly lead to violence, it perpetuates the lies and prejudices that allow people to ignore the inequities in education, health, voting and jobs that these people face. Which is why we need to call them out publicly and relentlessly, if not to change their minds, then to change their public behavior.
The WNBA will not make Sen. Kelly Loeffler sell her stake of the Atlanta Dream after anti-Black Lives Matter comments in the past weeks, commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Thursday on CNN. “We are not going to force her to sell her ownership,” Engelbert after being pressed about the issue in a segment with CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “She is not a current governor. She is not involved in the day-to-day and we are aware there are interested parties who want to purchase the team.”
She said they are “aware there are interested parties that want to purchase the team” and it’s being worked on. Most importantly, the league is focused on standing by the causes, in this case social and racial justice issues, that matter most to its players, she said. “We believe the WNBA platform. What the players want to focus on — and I know some of them have spoken out — but they want to focus on getting owners in who otherwise are supporting what they stand for. And that’s what we’re working on.”
The Timberwolves and Lynx opened the doors of Target Center to the public on Thursday for one of the first times since the NBA postponed its season, but instead of a basketball court and hoops on the floor of the arena, there were chairs and places for people to give blood. In concert with the Red Cross and Anheuser-Busch, the teams held a blood drive for 250 people, Wolves and Lynx COO Ryan Tanke said.
Alex English is certainly not one to tip-toe around tough topics. Since retiring from the NBA as an 8-time All Star in 1991, he has stood up for his legacy with the Denver Nuggets and for players as a crucial member of the NBA Players Association. He has now turned his attention to fighting for WNBA equality as a member of the WNBA PA Board of Advocates. “I want to see them get the respect they deserve,” explained English, the NBA’s leading scorer for the 1980s. “I know that there’s always gonna be those naysayers that say ‘well you know, they don’t make the kind of money in advertising and TV rights as the NBA Guys do.’ Yeah, but that took decades of the NBA to get to that level and the WNBA has done a great job with the PA of building that same type of support.”
English has gravitated towards the women’s game more in recent years because of how pure the basketball is. “The purity of the game and the quality of the game is what drew me to [the WNBA]. In some instances, their game is even more pure to me than what you see from the men,” said the 8-time NBA All-Star. “[WNBA players] have picked up on the technical part of the game that the NBA used to have. And, now as the game has progressed, you see a lot of guys that aren’t as true to form or true to techniques as the women are.”
The WNBA’s plan is largely unknown, but we do know that it will be very different from the NBA’s. Players will earn their full salaries and some will be able to bring family or caretakers with them. But, they will also have to share rooms, travel off-site for games, and have only some meals provided. English believes the inequality in player experience is simply illogical. “You’re asking the same thing from [WNBA players as you are from NBA players]: to risk their lives to give you a product that’s going to be that you sell on TV and radio and merchandise,” said English. “You are asking the same thing from the two then why not treat them the same?”
Mike Vorkunov: WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert says Kelly Loeffler is no longer involved in day-to-day Atlanta Dream business. “The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we… will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice.” pic.twitter.com/HPHxsGDYro

The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
The WNBA and its union have agreed to feature the names of women who have died in connection to police action or alleged racial violence — such as Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen — when the league resumes play later this month, sources told ESPN. WNBA players will also wear warm-up shirts that say “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the front. “Black Lives Matter” will also be featured prominently on the courts at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, sources said.
WNBA veteran Angel McCoughtry was pleased to see the news Saturday that the NBA may allow its players to wear jerseys with social justice or social cause messages, instead of their last names. But she hopes there’s a realization that a WNBA player last week proposed the idea of using jerseys for a cause; it came from McCoughtry herself. On June 22, the Las Vegas Aces guard/forward posted on Instagram the suggestion the WNBA players have the option to wear names other than their own on their jerseys. Specifically, of people who have been killed or injured in instances of social injustice, or of front-line workers in the coronavirus pandemic.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
On June 4, Timberwolves Associate Head Coach David Vanterpool and Lynx Assistant Coach Rebekkah Brunson joined Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson and Kim Miller, Vice President of Programs at RISE, to lead a community conversation for the Timberwolves and Lynx staff surrounding the impact of George Floyd’s death, personal experiences and emotions regarding social injustice and systemic racism. That conversation provided a starting point for what turned out to be one of the most comprehensive partnerships that RISE has created.

How should Americans address the issue of systemic racism, how can we change? John Thomas: It’s such a heavy and complex issue that goes deeper than even we all know. As Black people in this country, the systemic oppression and the trauma that was associated with the generations of our family members, knowing that research and studies have been done on the trauma and how that ultimately effects [and] really changes the DNA of the people that are traumatized. When you start to call those things into attention, you start to think about what that means. Then you start to understand systematically—with local policies such as redlining, blockbusting, and what that means for communities just based upon not being able to receive the type of loans that are necessary—it has an effect on the individual, which then ultimately spills over into the family, and this has been happening for years.
John Thomas: If the coronavirus never happened, if the NBA playoffs were still going and all sports were happening as normal, I guarantee the killing of George Floyd would have been swept under the rug like all the other killings and we never would have taken such a strong stance. So in getting closer with my family, my colleagues, my community, and by having such a passionate stance around issues like this—and even realizing that I, like so many others, was ultimately a part of the problem not due to wanting to be but due to the busyness of our lives—it caused us all to take pause and I’m very thankful. If you think about our Earth as a whole, it got a chance to breathe a little bit with cars not being on the road and humans damaging the world like we do. It was the best thing that happened. And in my lifetime, I’m certainly glad that it’s here. I don’t want to take away or marginalize those that were sick and suffered. And certainly my heart goes out to those that lost loved ones. I don’t want to take that away, but when you think about the medical picture of what this means to society, the timing was right.
This year, given the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s current reckoning over race and injustice, the Liberty continued that work with a virtual conversation for the 155-year anniversary of Juneteenth. The conversation about freedom, justice, equality featured Liberty point guard Layshia Clarendon and Brooklyn Nets forward Garrett Temple on the panel. They discussed athletes’ responsibility regarding the movement for racial justice and returning to work during the pandemic, which looks very different for the NBA and the WNBA. “Kyrie [Irving] could play or not and people are going to listen to what he says,” Clarendon said. “But our strength [in the WNBA] is in numbers.”
Temple said he sees that side of sitting out to focus on social justice, but believes being in Orlando is “an amazing opportunity.” Players are asking what can be done at the Disney World site, ranging from putting Black Lives Matter on the courts to reading PSAs on the broadcast during timeouts. “Just to make sure that narrative continues to get pushed but also to do our jobs playing as black men,” said Temple, who is studying for the LSAT to potentially be a prosecutor or governor. “We have an obligation to be the voice for the voiceless.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his commitment to using the league as a platform for social change at CAA’s Amplify virtual Town Hall yesterday. “Some of the best known black people in the world — whether it be the NBA or the WNBA — play in our league,” Silver said. “I really think there is a unique opportunity for this league, maybe more so than any institution in the world. But what comes with it is obligation and responsibility to think before we speak.”