SAN ANTONIO — Minnesota’s mainstream media didn’t send a single representative to this year’s WNBA All-Star Game, which was played here last Saturday and featured four Lynx players — Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore — the most players selected from one team for an All-Star Game since 2006.
The MSR was once again the only local media, community or mainstream, covering the game.
Longtime Lynx season ticket holders Shirley Suttles and Melba Long were there, however. Both have not yet missed an All-Star game nor the two exhibition games held in 2004 and 2010.
“I traveled all the way to San Antonio just to be with my girls and have fun along the way,” Suttles said proudly.
“What I like about going to the All-Star game is representing the Lynx and Minnesota,” added Long, who predicts even greater things for her favorite WNBA team. “We’re going to the championship game,” she said excitedly but confidently. “With Maya Moore, we are going to ride her back there.”
Suttles quickly reminded Long not to forget “Seimone Augustus and all the others. They finally got a good team, and I think we might make the championship.”
Moore, the only rookie All-Star starter in last week’s midsummer contest, agreed with Suttles: The Lynx, like the Temptations, are an ensemble act, not a leading lady and a bunch of sidekicks. The Lynx small forward pointed to the next three stalls to her left in the locker room — those of Whalen, Brunson and Augustus, in that order — and said, “They make me look good. It is great to have three other All-Stars back in Minnesota.”
“I think that it is a great compliment to Cheryl Reeve,” noted ESPN Analyst Carolyn Peck on the second-year Minnesota head coach, “to be able to assemble four All-Stars on the same team. When you have that much talent, and are able to have success, she [Reeve] has done a great job with the cohesiveness and allowing them to shine but also work together.”
They “are very deserving,” added former Lynx vice-president Angela Taylor, who now operates her own sports consulting firm in Virginia. Her former team “has a very young, talented group that wants to win,” she observed.
Sadly, the team, and as a whole the W, is still seen by too many, especially media hoop snobs local and national, as a novelty or “just a women’s league.”
“Part of the plan will be thinking about how to step up our outreach to the media to have them understand what the WNBA is all about,” said League President Laurel Richie last Saturday as she responded to my question during her first-ever “State of the W Address” prior to the All-Star Game.
Nonetheless, the WNBA is America’s longest running women’s pro league. And even though it’s too often ignored by sports elitists, there are still many among us who see it for what it is and what it can be.
“This is the best women’s basketball league in the world,” declared Peck. “They aren’t making a whole lot of money, but it’s great talent.”
Top 15 all-time team chosen
I successfully picked 12 of the 15 players who made the WNBA Top 15 Players of All Time: Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, Katie Smith, Cappie Pondexter, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi, Tina Thompson and Teresa Weatherspoon.
Yolanda Griffith (1999-2009), current San Antonio guard Becky Hammon, and Ticha Penicheiro, now with Los Angeles, rounded out the historic group, which was honored at halftime of last Saturday’s All-Star game.
“I had to kind of strong-arm them [two weeks ago] to tell me, because I’m right in the middle of recruiting,” admitted the legendary Staley (1999-2006), now the South Carolina head coach. “They told me it was so close that I probably would have to stop what I was doing on my recruiting trip [to come to San Antonio].”
Pondexter, the New York Liberty All-Star guard who led the winning East team in scoring last week, said she didn’t know she had made it until she was informed while in the locker room at halftime. “They told me to put the warm-up jacket back on. To be part of that was special.”
I uniquely observed, as I do at major sporting events such as last week’s WNBA All-Star Game, the number of media members of color in attendance. Only a handful, including this reporter and MSR photographer Onika Nicole Craven, were here in San Antonio.
“This was my first All-Star game,” noted Detroit attorney Alana Glass, who also is a contributor for Forbes Sports Money Blog (www.IWantToBeAnOwner.com). “It was a great weekend,” added Glass, who was a Minnesota Gopher teammate of Whalen for two years.
For more WNBA news and views, read our “Another View” blog at www.challman.wordpress.com.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.