Lynx player hopes new WNBA, CBS TV deal leads to bigger checks

Courtesy of Getty Images Danielle Robinson

​My five-year-old daughter Cameron and I couldn’t stop slapping high five and doing the Floss when we found out there would be more women’s hoops games on TV this summer. My baby loves watching the ladies ball out of control, but bless her heart, she doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to see them because very few are available on television.

But​ a change is on the way.​ ​The WNBA and CBS ​recently ​announced it would broadcast 40 WNBA games in prime-time and on weekends​ as part of a ​brand new multiyear deal between the league and the sports​. It all kicks off on May 25​.​

And as it should be, the first televised game will feature our beloved four-time WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx beating up on the Chicago Sky at Target Center.​ ​Don’t sleep on the Lynx just because they’ve had a few departures recently. Even though Maya Moore took a break and Lindsey Whalen is doing her coaching thing, the Lynx still have Danielle Robinson.

If you ain’t up on my girl D Rob, let me give you a brief history lesson. She’s a veteran guard and three-time WNBA All-Star. And if you blink you might miss her cause she’s one of the fastest players in the league.

Girlfriend got game for sure. But that’s not why my daughter and I love her. No, ma’am. We can’t wait to see D Rob on TV cause she’s dripping swagger. You never know from one game to the next what color her hair is going​ to be​. It might be pink one day for breast cancer awareness and bright red​ — her favorite color — the next​.​

I was giddy when I had a chance to sit down and talk to D Rob about her style, her game, how she bounced back from a season-ending injury and when she thinks women will be paid what they are worth instead of the peanuts the league is throwing at them now​. ​In the words of Viola Davis and Rihanna: “Pay me what you owe me!

The ladies in the WNBA have loyal fans, are filling arenas and have superstar players, but make pennies on the dollar when compared to their male counterparts in the NBA.​

​D Rob believes it will happen, eventually​. She spoke with us about that and more in the excerpt below.

MSR: Y’all got a lot of new faces on the team this year.

DR: We just drafted four players and traded one. We got a lot of good pieces for the season.

MSR: See, I don’t like new co-workers. You gotta train em and break em in and they might sneak and eat your lunch out the refrigerator in the break room if you don’t put your name on your Tupperware…

DR: (Laughs) It is not like that with my teammates. These young players are going to help a lot.  The new faces bring new energy and when you add that to the veteran leadership we already have, it will make our team very special.

MSR: Now let me just say all your stats and accolades and being an All-Star is NOT the reason you’re one of my favorite players on the team. I love your swagger and you’re always dying your hair different colors. When did that start?

DR: It’s all about the sauce and the drip. I started doing it during my college career at Oklahoma. Our colors are crimson and cream. I didn’t want black hair, it’s boring to me. So I colored my hair to match our uniforms. Then when I got to the Lynx, everyone was like, “You have to dye it to match our colors.”

MSR: Getting back to your game. You’re fresh off a season-ending injury. How do you make a fresh start?

DR: By getting back to my All-Star shape that I had in 2015 and growing my game in different ways. This year, too, I’m looking to lead by showing the young players the ropes.

MSR: Most folks, when they have a setback like yours, they never recover. How did you bounce back from that ankle injury?

DR: An injury is hard. I had an injury before, so I knew what it took for me to come back. It took a lot of discipline and motivation. It was actually a blessing in disguise. If I hadn’t gotten hurt, I wouldn’t have been able to work on my game the way I did. I had people around me that supported and believed in me. You can’t do what I do and be successful all by yourself. I have a wonderful team around me.

MSR: I hope this new deal with CBS to broadcast more WNBA games on TV will bring more fans to the game so they can buy season tickets and merch. Then y’all can start making as much money as the men in the NBA.

I get so p*ssed off when I think about y’all working in the offseason just so you can pay your bills. You should be training and conditioning your bodies during that time. That ain’t right!

DR: Listen, Sheletta, don’t get mad. I think we will get there. I don’t know if it will be the money the guys get. But I do think this deal is the first step for us to be compensated better. I think about one of the WNBA players for the Seattle Storm, Breanna Stewart; she got hurt just the other day playing overseas in a title game.

MSR: See, that’s what I’m talking about right there.

DR: Right now there is more of push-back from players in the WNBA. We’re saying “If you don’t want us to go overseas and you want us to be healthy for our league, then something is going to have to change.” Something is in the works, though. I think that with everyone speaking out and the NBA guys backing us up saying we deserve it, more money will come to the players in our league.

MSR: And you know what? If it doesn’t come soon, I’m gonna get you a hair color endorsement deal with Dark & Lovely, Clairol, Vida Sassoon, somebody…

DR: I’m with that.