Laurel Richie

Recent Articles

Lynx in WNBA Finals still low on media radar

The 2013 WNBA Finals now heads south to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday between the Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream, the last two teams standing. “Anytime you get to this point when you’re at the end of the season in the Finals, these two teams know that there are a maximum of five more games before they’re hoisting a trophy,” said President Laurel Richie Sunday before Game 1 took place in downtown Minneapolis. “It truly doesn’t matter which two teams are in it. It just matters that we’re at the Finals and ready to bring it on. I think it’s going to be a wonderful way to end what has been a terrific season for the WNBA,” Richie said. Continue Reading →

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WNBA President Richie in town — Addresses questions about expansion




The ‘E’ word — expansion — again was heard. It was asked at the All-Star Game a couple of weekends ago, and again last weekend when WNBA President Laurel Richie spoke to the tiny Minnesota press corps prior to the August 2 Minnesota-San Antonio contest. Too bad the quizzical reporter, as well as others who keep bringing it up, hasn’t gotten it yet. A dozen teams — six in each conference — is fine right now. This reporter, who has covered all 17 WNBA seasons, has seen the league expand too fast during its formative period, only to see teams like Cleveland and Charlotte later close shop after a couple of years. Continue Reading →

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WNBA joins effort to build Black girls’ self-esteem



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Procter & Gamble last week announced a new partnership that solely focuses on Black girls. My Black Is Beautiful was started in 2007 by the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Company, and in April they released Imagine a Future, a 30-minute documentary on Black women in America and Africa. A program of the same name was started as well and now will connect with the WNBA, the world’s longest running women’s professional team sports league, where over three-fourths of the players are Black females. “It’s a slam dunk,” said P&G North America Brand Operations Director Julie Eddleman in a July 22 press release. Although the specifics have yet to be released, the WNBA-P&G partnership will be woven into the league’s WNBA Cares program. Continue Reading →

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A few WNBA All-Star firsts




UNCASVILLE, CONN. — “Her-stories” were aplenty here last Saturday at the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game. “I think it is very reflective of the 17th season of the WNBA,” said League President Laurel Richie. “We have a wonderful mix of rookies and first-timers but also many of our veterans coming back.”


Her first 

After a couple of near opportunities that for one reason or another didn’t materialize, Shelley Patterson was finally a West All-Star assistant coach. “It’s taken me a long time,” admitted the Minnesota Lynx’s only Black assistant coach. Continue Reading →

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Tina Thompson, last of the originals, takes a final bow



Tina Thompson (Seattle) is the WNBA’s last original player. Fittingly, the 38-year-old Thompson, the league’s first player selected in 1997 who since has played in every season, was named as an All-Star replacement player by WNBA President Laurel Richie. As a result, Thompson, the 2000 All-Star MVP and the W’s all-time leader in points, field goals and minutes played, last weekend set a league record ninth All-Star appearance in 12 seasons. “Anytime you get asked to play in the All-Star Game, it is a great honor,” she said. “I actually didn’t know that I set the record for appearances until I got here.”

“She is a great person to come in and let everybody, let all the fans give her that last [applause],” said Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus of Thompson. Continue Reading →

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Diversity report shows NBA leading sports industry — Except in Minnesota, where it still lags far behind




The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) annually publishes the Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) reports on professional and college sport to measure racial and gender improvement, stagnation and regression in decision making, and other key positions. The MSR annually devotes more attention to RGRC author Richard Lapchick’s grades than does any other media in town. No speculation as to why the local pro teams and the state’s largest university diversity efforts don’t merit the same smell test analysis by mainstream media that it does here. TIDES last week continued its annual RGRC series with the 2012-13 NBA. The Major League Baseball RGRC was released earlier this year, and we briefly reported it.  A quick recap: The Minnesota Twins, as usual, failed in its diversity grade. Continue Reading →

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Tayler Hill moves on up to the big time




Tayler Hill soon will earn her human economy degree from Ohio State. A few weeks ago, she went on a few interviews and last week got her first job offer. “I never have been on a job interview, so I’m not sure exactly how that works,” admitted the Minneapolis native before interviewing for and accepting her first job as a professional basketball player. The Washington Mystics selected her as their first-round pick in this year’s WNBA draft, and she starts her post-college job in May. Hill briefly explained the interview process, which for a WNBA prospect is a lot different than NFL and NBA potential draftees: no 40-yard timings or individual workouts beforehand. Continue Reading →

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ESPN extends deal with WNBA; financial details kept $ecret



Two big changes were recently announced by the WNBA: an extension of its current deal with ESPN for six years, and a new logo was unveiled. “This new extension,” proclaimed ESPN President John Skipper at the March 28 press conference in New York, “ensures we will be together a minimum of 26 years. We have been with the league since it started in 1997.”

“I feel like we’ve spent the last three or four months meeting with literally every department within ESPN to talk about how these two great companies can come together and really take women’s sports to the next level,” added WNBA President Laurel Richie. Up to 30 W games, including playoffs, the draft, and the all-star game, will be shown on ESPN during the extended deal that now runs through 2022. That adds up to only 180 games over the life of the contract in comparison to the 220 NBA games telecast each season on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV. Continue Reading →

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In final analysis, Title IX created ‘unprecedented opportunities’


After 40 years of existence, Title IX still raises the hair on the necks of those critics who strongly feel the federal law hurts men’s sports. These naysayers continue to propagandize this lie. However, more often than not it seems that White females have been the main beneficiaries of the equity legislation since its passage 40 years ago. “I think it has been a law that helped all women,” says University of Wisconsin-Madison law student Valyncia Raphael. “But I think right now the conversation does not acknowledge that there are different types of women who have benefited from the law in different ways.”

Raphael made her observation during a national Title IX conference held last spring at the University of Michigan. Continue Reading →

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