- Shaq reignited the controversy on decreasing the edges in girls’s basketball throughout an “NBA on TNT” section.
- Bringing down the hoops in pursuit of extra WNBA and NCAA girls’s basksetball dunks is a dumb concept.
- It could be “offensive” to pressure stars to relearn the sport and discredit those that can already dunk.
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For so long as the WNBA has been round, laymen and consultants alike have supplied up concepts for altering the sport in a misguided try to make the ladies’s aspect of basketball extra interesting to a broader viewers.
Shaquille O’Neal was the newest contestant to partake on this all-too-common sport of fixing one thing that is not damaged. He supplied unsolicited recommendation to two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker throughout a current section of “NBA on TNT.” The NBA Corridor of Famer prompt that the right option to make the NBA and the WNBA “equal” could be to “decrease the rim so y’all can dunk like we dunk.”
“That’ll give y’all extra ‘oomph’ than you have already got,” Shaq added.
-gifdsports (@gifdsports) March 17, 2021
Parker did not give his suggestion a lot consideration, rolling her eyes and responding with a easy “no.” Although curt, the six-time first-team All-WNBA choice and reigning Defensive Participant of the 12 months’s response spoke volumes. Girls in basketball – even these of Parker’s caliber – are continually subjected to the unlucky and, frankly, annoying take that their play is actually nugatory with out dunks.
Shaq’s ill-advised suggestion opened the floodgates, empowering males throughout the web to second his sentiment that sure, they’d give girls’s sports activities an opportunity if solely they tailored to be extra like males’s sports activities. And though many have defined the explanations for preserving the edges the place they’re, right here is why decreasing the hoops in pursuit of girls’s basketball dunks is a dumb concept.
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Let’s begin with the apparent – many ladies can already dunk
Shaq appears to have missed that WNBA stars have dunked all through the league’s 25-year historical past. In 2002, Los Angeles Sparks legend Lisa Leslie grew to become the primary participant to dunk in a WNBA sport. Since then, six different gamers have joined her within the WNBA dunking membership – and Parker is certainly one of them.
The now-Chicago Sky star first dunked in a Sparks sport in 2008, slamming a cherry on high of her historic rookie marketing campaign as the one participant to win Rookie of the 12 months and league MVP in the identical season. Here is the spotlight:
At the least two present NCAA girls’s school basketball stars confirmed off their hops this season. Stanford ahead Fran Belibi threw down a handful of dunks throughout the Cardinal’s 2020-2021 marketing campaign. And the Oregon Geese’ in-house TikTok star, 6-foot-7 sophomore Sedona Prince, silenced naysayers by sharing a one-handed slam in warm-ups throughout the NCAA match.
Even Shaq’s personal daughter can dunk on a regulation rim! When she was 13, Me’arah O’Neal rose for a dunk on a 10-foot hoop in a video shared by her brother, LSU Tigers star Shareef O’Neal.
-Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) February 26, 2020
Gamers must utterly relearn the sport
In 2018, Nneka Ogwumike – a celebrity in her personal proper and the president of the Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation – brilliantly defined why questioning the peak of the hampers is “most likely some of the offensive questions you may ask a WNBA participant.”
“It is not logical to ask us to do this,” she mentioned. “We’re continually being in comparison with males. Now we have individuals excelling at a 10-foot rim. And now, you need us to decrease the rim so we will constantly be in contrast, solely to nonetheless be criticized. As a result of now, you have got somebody like me who has carried out what she’s carried out – now I’ve to relearn the sport to appease individuals who do not need to watch it for what it’s.”
-The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) November 15, 2018
The six-time All-Star and 2016 WNBA MVP has some extent; decreasing the rim would pressure gamers like herself and Parker to adapt their capturing strokes, approaches to rebounding, ground positioning, and a lot extra. And even then, there is a respectable probability that the change wouldn’t compel critics to tune in.
Ogwumike echoed related sentiments whereas talking in a Clubhouse room hosted by Insider in early March. The LA Sportsperson of the Year mentioned the dunking narrative is “performed out.” Anybody suggesting girls’s basketball wants extra dunks to be fascinating, Ogwumike added, would virtually definitely discover another excuse to not watch if the league granted their want.
She and others who partook within the dialog additionally famous that basketball is not all about dunking.
Among the NBA’s finest and brightest aren’t identified for his or her dunking skill
Nobody tunes right into a Golden State Warriors sport anticipating Steph Curry to place his opponents on a poster. The 2-time NBA MVP has solely thrown down some 30 dunks in his 12 seasons within the league.
Nonetheless, Curry has lengthy been some of the thrilling and interesting gamers within the execs. His jerseys are repeatedly among the many top-10 highest-selling threads within the NBA. And though he instructions one of many league’s high salaries, the seven-time All-Star makes much more cash every year from endorsements.
Curry is not the one NBA celebrity with megawatt model worth who is not a lot of a dunker. James Harden, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Trae Younger, and loads of different All-Stars not often rise above the rim, if in any respect.
It stands to cause that followers of these gamers should not watching basketball solely for the dunks. And possibly they may strike up an curiosity in stars on the ladies’s aspect whose video games resemble Curry’s and different backcourt gamers within the NBA, together with Sabrina Ionescu, Diana Taurasi, Arike Ogunbowale, Paige Bueckers, and Caitlin Clark.
The WNBA and NCAA girls’s basketball have already achieved record-breaking successes
2020 was a standout yr for the WNBA on the engagement entrance. Thanks to an enormous broadcast cope with ESPN, the league had extra televised video games than ever earlier than. Unprecedented viewership adopted because the WNBA noticed a 68% improve in its regular-season viewers, a 15% viewership bounce for the finals, and 30% extra engagement throughout social media.
The 2021 NCAA girls’s match has important momentum as properly, and it is little shock on condition that this yr marks the primary wherein all girls’s March Insanity video games have been carried on nationwide tv. In keeping with The Athletic, UConn and Iowa’s Candy Sixteen matchup garnered 1.6 million viewers, whereas 1.7 million individuals watched as UConn downed Baylor within the Elite Eight.
Maybe the WNBA and NCAA girls’s basketball can win over followers with out decreasing the edges in spite of everything; it definitely seems to be like they have already got.
And I would implore Shaq and others participating within the “girls have to dunk” narrative to contemplate this; maybe it isn’t the product on the court docket that wants fixing a lot because the system that has routinely denied girls’s basketball its correct share of the highlight.