This reporter got a photo of the four Lynx All-Stars clowning around, sitting together in the locker room – the first time in league history four teammates were chosen as All-Stars. That quartet several weeks later that year helped bring Minnesota its first pro basketball championship since the Lakers in the 1950s.
Perhaps the “MVP” — the person who Lynx fans should thank for Minneapolis as the first-time host of the WNBA’s annual event — is the same person who has been instrumental in bringing last February’s Super Bowl and next year’s Men’s Final Four to the city, among other high-profile sporting events: Meet Minneapolis and Sports Minneapolis President-CEO Melvin Tennant.
“I think that perception [is] based on misinformation,” Kayla McBride said. “I think a lot of people who have this perception of women’s basketball or the WNBA compare it to the NBA most of the time. They compare it to the men’s story, their ways and salaries and stuff.”
Lindsay Whalen, about this time two years ago, stood alongside her Black teammates wearing black T-shirts to protest the Philando Castile shooting in Falcon Heights, a similar shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and other such tragedies.
Harvard Business Administration Professor Anita Elberse, who first started and teaches the semester-long course with NBA players, pairing them with MBA student mentors. This year a new program was opened to WNBA players.
“It was my first [pro] team,” Betty Lennox recalled in a recent MSR phone interview. Just the season before, she and Grace Daley became only the second rookie duo ever to combine for the most made three-pointers (72) for the same team. Now 42, she is the women’s basketball coach at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley in Kansas City, Missouri.
Lindsay Whalen (Hutchinson, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Lynx), Tayler Hill (Minneapolis South, Ohio State University, Washington Mystics), Nia Coffey (Hopkins, Northwestern University, Las Vegas Aces), and Rachel Banham (Lakeville North, University of Minnesota, Connecticut Sun) have all made their marks thus far in the WNBA’s 20th season.
Amber Stokes is one of two Black female coach/GMs in the WNBA. Now in her second year in Chicago, Stokes told the MSR that she has adjusted to her dual role.
Serena Williams’s 2009 Body Issue cover still ranks as ESPN’s best seller – hers was one of six alternative covers used for the inaugural issue. This year it’s called BODY10, which hit newsstands June 29.
This season there are 25 WNBA players officially listed as centers, and seven others are listed as center-forwards. Williams, who has coached in the W for 15 seasons, says, “You need a big to alter shots or at least have [an] opportunity in the paint, a person with length who can move off screens and can play good defense. You got about five or six bigs who are top scorers in our league.”