Mystics president Sheila Johnson talks WNBA salaries at espnW summit in New York

Photo Credit: Noam Galai/Wire Image

The players of the WNBA have an ally in their push for higher salaries in Washington Mystics president Sheila Johnson.

This week, she was at the espnW summit in New York City where she concurred with players that they need to be paid more in salaries.


This is something that we are constantly fighting for.

–Washington Mystics president Sheila Johnson at espnW Summit in New York City


I really think my biggest role is going out to corporations and literally trying to sell my team for corporate sponsorship.

–Washington Mystics president Sheila Johnson at espnW Summit in New York City

The WNBPA announced during the offseason, as was expected, that it would opt out of its collective bargaining agreement with the league – which is still sans a permanent president – in hopes of bringing more attention to issues the players are trying to highlight. Those include player safety, travel, marketing, and salaries.

It has been a debate that has continued to wear on even during the offseason, particularly when the NBA announced it would offer select G-League contracts to top high school prospects. It also reached an apex when reigning league, Finals, and World Cup MVP Breanna Stewart was injured overseas sidelining her for this regular season.

Stewart is just one of many WNBA players that has to play overseas to compensate for the low salaries they bring in stateside.


Most of our players have to play overseas during the winter to make anywhere from $100,000 and up. Our starting players are in the $40-50,000 (range) and our top players only make like $110,000 – something like that.

–Washington Mystics president Sheila Johnson at espnW Summit in New York City


You have male NBA players who can sit on the bench the entire year and make over a million dollars.

–Washington Mystics president Sheila Johnson at espnW Summit, New York City

The CBA is expected to be a backstory to the 2019 regular season with the expiration date on the current collective bargaining agreement coming soon.

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