Lisa Borders talks WNBA, politics with Atlanta’s NPR WABE-FM 90.1

Photo Credit: Earl Wilson/New York Times

In many ways, Atlanta was the city that set the foundation for Lisa Borders’ ascent to the WNBA presidency.

She was a former member of the Atlanta City Council and once ran for the mayoralty of the city – which will elect a new mayor next month. Borders was also very influential in the WNBA’s expansion to Atlanta and was recently honored by the Grady Health Foundation for her service to the organization.

With Kasim Reed soon to depart his post as Atlanta mayor, City Councilwomen Keisha Lance Bottoms (who recently was endorsed by one of the candidates she ran against in the primary — Kwanzaa Hall) and Mary Norwood are vying to succeed Reed. Borders was a guest on “Morning Edition” on NPR affiliate 90.1 WABE and spoke on several issues relating to the league as well as politics and social issues.

One of the things Borders was asked about was the racial component to the mayor’s race given the idea of a “Black Mecca” such as Atlanta electing a woman not of color, such as Norwood, to the mayoralty.

If we don’t talk about race, if we don’t deal with all the vestiges of all the poor behaviors of the past, it’ll just come back again, again, and again to haunt us.

WABE also asked Borders about the state of the Dream, which finished last year’s WNBA season with a 12-22 record and on the outside looking in in terms of the postseason picture. She mentioned that businesses go through cycles – and a sports team, being a business, is no different.

Part of what could affect where the Dream are, both on and off the court, is the status of the overall Atlanta sports scene. Atlanta United FC, the Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta Braves all moved into new stadiums and the Atlanta Hawks will play in a newly renovated Philips Arena starting with the 2019 NBA season.

The Dream are currently playing its home games at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion while Philips gets a makeover. Borders believes the sporting competition in the city is in good shape.

Everybody’s not watching soccer. Everybody’s not playing basketball. Everybody’s not watching football. People are doing lots of different things. I think the competition is frankly healthy.

Borders was also asked about the social standing the WNBA has received as players and teams are speaking out on important social issues – from protesting police brutality and support of Black Lives Matter, to championing women’s rights. She wanted to remind everyone that this recent wave of athletes becoming more social conscious did not start with Colin Kaepernick taking knees during the National Anthem.

Long before Colin Kaepernick took a knee, our women have been standing up, working in their communities as part of what they do and who they are every single day. So, my first reaction is to support them, to allow them to use the platform of the WNBA because they created it, they cultivated it, they curate it every single day.

She also urged those of older generations to not allow their views to get in the way of America’s and the world’s youth hoping to affect change and make a difference in the world.

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