Giving much-deserved flowers to WNBA press corps

Photo Credit: Akiem Bailum

The 26th WNBA season is in the books with the Las Vegas Aces defeating the Connecticut Sun in four games to claim the franchise’s first-ever championship. 

The Aces are certainly more than deserving of their flowers – as are the other 11 WNBA teams for what was another great season. This goes for the players, coaches, front office staffs and those unsung heroes behind the scenes that make sure the A’ja Wilsons, Chelsea Grays, Kelsey Plums and Jackie Young play like A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young. 

But among those unsung heroes of the WNBA also includes those that ensure the stories of the A’ja Wilsons, Chelsea Grays, Kelsey Plums and Jackie Youngs are told on a regular basis – and that is the WNBA press corps. 

It is a press corps that ever since I began covering the W in 2016 has taken major steps forward. While we regularly lament on a typical basis the disparity in coverage between women’s sports and men’s sports, there are noteworthy figures within the WNBA media spaces that are filling in those gaps. 

One way this has been utilized has been the power of social media. Whether it is via the Hoopstresses space that includes our very own EIC Laureen “Lo” Edwards or The 94×50 Podcast with K Dot and Daniel Artest or Women’s Sports Wednesday on Spotify Live with Khristina Williams (that yours truly is a regular panelist on), we have successfully created our own platforms that fill in those gaps when the big networks are lacking in terms of showing love to women’s sports.

If anything, one can certainly say that in terms of WNBA coverage, we are no longer having to catch up to the major networks and media outlets. Those major networks and media outlets are now having to catch up to us. 

One other thing about WNBA media is that it has empowered Black women to be themselves and take the lead in terms of coverage. Whether it is Ari Chambers, Khristina Williams, Erica Ayala, Terrika Foster-Brasby, our very own Lo Edwards and countless others, the WNBA media space is filled with Black Girl Magic. With it, the coverage of the sport has evolved from simply coverage of what happens during the season to an inside look into who the women of the W are as people. 

This is also where outlets like ours come in – because not all WNBA players will be going overseas after the conclusion of the FIBA Women’s World Cup. 

We will have several players that will ink endorsement deals or make moves with their own businesses. We have several players that are attempting to delve into other realms of popular culture outside of basketball such as music and fashion (Katie Lou Samuelson, Isabelle Harrison and DiDi Richards recently participated in New York Fashion Week). Also, there is what we call #WVotes2022 where we spotlight WNBA players getting involved in the upcoming midterm elections. 

One of the great things about the WNBA’s media space is everyone has a niche and is good at their own things. We have those that are really great at covering WNBA players from a cultural perspective. We have those that are extremely skilled at breaking down individual game film. We have those (like our very own photographer extraordinaire Lamar Carter) who own it when breaking down the W as part of video games such as NBA2K.

Not to mention the talented beat reporters including Myles Ehrlich and Jackie Powell on the Liberty beat, John W. Davis on the Sparks beat, Annie Costabile on the Sky beat, Jeff Metcalfe on the Mercury beat, Kent Youngblood on the Lynx beat and Percy Allen on the Storm beat.

We have those who are beyond skilled when it comes to analyzing the business of the WNBA in terms of stadium and media rights deals. This will be a bigger and bigger deal in the coming years as the W’s TV rights become up for renewal in 2025.

And that media space is only growing and growing by leaps and bounds. It was not that long ago when one could not have imagined even large-scale events such as the All-Star Game and Finals having full media rooms. Now, they have full media rooms (and Zoom conferences) with hungry credentialed press types waiting to ask coaches and players about games and press commissioner Cathy Engelbert on hot-button topics relating to the league. 

And we at Beyond The W have firmly established ourselves as an integral part of that WNBA media space. We have chatted with Khristina Williams, New York Times best-selling author Andrew Maraniss about the “Inaugural Ballers” book, an Xbox executive about its partnership with the New York Liberty and Atlanta Dream and was all over All-Star weekend in Chicago. 

We are doing our part – as we will continue to do, as is everyone that occupies the WNBA’s vast and expanding media space is continuing to do. This year, there is little rest for the weary given we will go into FIBA World Cup mode in a few days, but once that is in the books, I think we have all earned ourselves a much-deserved breather, a toast to our continued efforts and a bouquet of flowers. 

Here is the headline we are thinking of – WNBA MEDIA ROCKS IT FOR 26TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON.

Subhead – Talented, young and diverse group of hoops enthusiasts earns flowers for exemplary coverage.

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