Earlier this year, Skylar Diggins-Smith wrote an essay for Wealthsimple which pertained to the staggering gap in wages that there is between the WNBA and NBA. It also later was revealed that she had a meeting with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban shortly after she called out the pay gap by referencing how much she makes in relation to the Mavs’ Harrison Barnes.
She also cut the above with the same folks at Wealthsimple which further put a lens on the problem.
The 30-second spot features a young boy and a young girl both with big dreams of making it in the NBA and the WNBA, respectively. The girl’s accomplishments will have been far more than that of the boy’s as she would become a three-time All-American, three consecutive Final Four appearances, and conference player of the year.
Both also became top draft picks.
At the end, the boy mentions the $4 million rookie contract he gets via the NBA, while the girl’s WNBA rookie deal will be a mere $40,000.
The release of the advertisement could not have been more timely on the part of Diggins-Smith and Wealthsimple given the announcement by the WNBPA that it would opt out of its current Collective Bargaining Agreement with the WNBA.
Wealthsimple also put out a statement, per this report, indicating it plans to do its part when it comes to WNBA players’ finances. The Toronto-based wealth management firm intends to make a long-term push in the form of a $50,000 investment portfolio for each player.
Diggins-Smith also cut a longer feature for Wealthsimple’s Money Diaries series in which she talked further about how the current state of affairs has made things difficult and how it has affected how she approaches her finances.
I’ve experienced inequality and I’ve experienced unfairness and I don’t want other people to feel how I feel or how I felt.
She mentioned how she grew up playing with and against boys and men, but did not want to treated differently simply because she was a girl and is a woman.
If you didn’t play rough, get off the court. I’m out here and I would hate when people would try to throw me soft bounce passes or soft chest passes. I’m like, ‘throw it.’
Diggins-Smith also talked about the societal discrepancies that exist between a man being confident and a woman being confident. She mentioned that a man is perceived as a “boss” if he exudes confidence, but it is different for a woman.
If a woman comes off with a lot of confidence, she’s a…
Towards the tail end of the ad, she brought up a key point. Partly because of the immense pay inequity that exists between the WNBA and NBA, many players in the W have to find alternative revenue streams. These, of course, include playing overseas which is extremely taxing on the body and heading their own businesses – such as the ice cream business Angel McCoughtry opened in Atlanta recently.
We understand basketball isn’t forever. And that’s what a lot of guys don’t understand. They think the stream of money is going to come and flow as it does currently. And that’s why you see a lot of them go bankrupt.
Just having an understanding of the discrepancy – it makes you prepared for life after basketball.
She closed by saying that she would tell her younger self to simply not be afraid of challenges, have fun, and recognize that she may have to be a voice for others.