A debate popped off when WNBA player A'ja Wilson pointed out the wage gap in professional basketball.
The hoopla started when Wilson, who plays for the Las Vegas Aces, shared her thoughts on Lebron James' contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, noting the stark difference between NBA and WNBA contracts.
“154 million. Must be nice. We over here looking for a million, but Lord let me get back in my lane," Wilson wrote. "And I love Bron not taking nothing away from him."
154M ........... must. be. nice. We over here looking for a M 🙃 but Lord, let me get back in my lane pic.twitter.com/IFDZLlI53z— A'ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) July 2, 2018
And I love Bron not taking nothing away from him 🙏🏽— A'ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) July 2, 2018
Her tweets sent basketball fans into a tizzy.
Despite her proclaiming her love for Bron, some folks got in their feelings. Fans trying to justify the wage gap came out in force, with some even questioning WNBA players' skills.
No money coming in, how you expect to have it come out? Very little fan base, unsettled cities and teams. @WNBA needs to work on ways to get people to watch.— Ja'mal Davis (@DBoy46) July 2, 2018
LeBron doesn’t or even Olynyk play in front of this. No revenue , no 154 million. Empty seats don’t get you paid. Probably why the G league players don’t scream about their pay. Stop asking for salaries you’re not worth pic.twitter.com/vgk19tQ0kH— Ibªñez (@BlackBeeard1974) July 2, 2018
Do you want a charity donation or??? Your sport doesn’t generate revenue. They get paid off the revenue they create. Tell your fans to start watching more games. THERE ARE MORE FEMALES IN THIS COUNTRY THAN MEN. Don’t make this about sex. The females are watching the men too— Andy Whitworth (@AndyWhitworth7) July 3, 2018
Y’all can’t even dunk 😂😂 154M is entertainment money and y’all not entertainment, y’all like a organized pick up game or a lil league or somethin 🤷🏽♂️ y’all gotta take y’all game to the next level— R A U N The second (@RonHooker_) July 4, 2018
It’s time for you to come down off that high horse of yours and face facts... you are not a man.. athletically you will never be able to compete with a man on the professional level.. this is truth in its most brutal form but it needs to be said... think logically...— LFC_7792 (@Mikey_C7) July 6, 2018
The revenue and popularity of the WNBA will probably never get to that point. He’ll personally I rather watch paint dry over watching a WNBA game— Jay T 😎😈♏️ (@CaffeinatedJay) July 2, 2018
Despite the loud and plentiful critics, some folks got Wilson's point:
I think you ball better than most NBA players, A’ja! But sadly, #genderpaygap is real especially in basketball. I will gladly pay twice, three times the amount to see you and the Aces play. I know you love doing what you do, but money sure helps!— Jerifaye Flores (@bagaglips) July 2, 2018
Everybody talking about the revenue and how much WNBA doesn’t make. Yet won’t watch or have their daughters or sons watch these talented women play. These women work hard just like the NBA, but because they’re women, their profession is deemed boring 🙃— Monica Wright-McCall (@wiz3kitty_) July 2, 2018
Nah, you in your lane for saying this...WNBA players receive less than 22% of revenue whereas the NBA pays its players 50% revenue. That should change.— Art Hart (@king_arthur_11) July 2, 2018
Nah I feel you y’all salaries are DISRESPECTFUL I think 2k gamers get more— BadMan $tan (@StanMan__) July 2, 2018
Regardless of what Twitter thinks, Wilson might be on to something.
"Let's be clear, there is a lot of sexism that still goes on," WNBA president Lisa Borders told Forbes recently. " People do not believe that women can be superb professional athletes. That frankly is an ignorant perspective, but if you haven't had the opportunity to see a game, a player or experienced the game, then perhaps you have an uninformed perspective. We invite folks into the area to actually see a game."
According to CNBC, WNBA players only earn 20 percent of an NBA player's salary and a WNBA player's salary cap is $110,000. The starting salary for an NBA player is $565,000.
In most fields, having a college degree will ensure you receive a higher salary than someone without a degree. But not in professional basketball.
Due to a rule that WNBA players must have four years of post-high school education to play in the league, the WNBA has far more players with college degrees than the NBA. Having a degree has come in handy for some WNBA players who have used their education to build side hustles. However, not all WNBA players have been able to achieve success in side businesses.
Borders said the rule exists to ensure WNBA athletes have something to fall back on.
“When you look at professional athleticism, it doesn’t have an evergreen shelf life. The average time a woman plays professional basketball is five years. These programs are to ensure that our women are fully armed to be successful not only as professional athletes, but in life,” Borders said. “Our women are very prudent when it comes to planning for the future. There are many of them who are doing things beyond the court, which will make the transition smooth into a traditional corporate environment or entrepreneurial work.”
It looks like we all need to start better supporting the WNBA.
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