Should the business of women’s basketball approach Texas with caution?

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

If one were to watch many a news show these past few years, Texas has been in the news and on people’s lips a lot. And much of it has not exactly been for the most pleasant of reasons. 

Whether it has been through the continued exploits of its governor, what happened in Uvalde, measures by Texas politicians to limit access to the vote or measures by those same Texas politicians to limit access to reproductive freedom for women, the Lone Star State has made us shake our heads aplenty lately.

One would think that given how progressive the women’s basketball space (and women’s sports as a whole) are that many powers that be that make decisions for the game would think twice before thinking Texas. As much as “Deep In the Heart of Texas” is a celebrated phrase in the American lexicon, actions by Lone Star State politicians should question if Texas has a heart. 

And if it does, is it as black as the “black gold” that comes in droves out of said state. 

For example – consider that the 2023 Women’s Final Four will be staged in Texas at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The venue is home to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Let us also remember it was not that long ago that the NCAA held a Women’s Final Four in Dallas. 

Also, two years ago as the world was slowly fighting back against COVID-19, the NCAA decided to stage the entirety of that season’s tournament in central Texas with venues that were split between the San Antonio and Austin metropolitan areas. 

It was the same tournament where Oregon’s Sedona Prince exposed the NCAA for its less-than-lackluster preparations for the women’s tournament whereas the men in Indianapolis that year were treated like rockstars. 

And it also led to former NCAA president Mark Emmert losing his job. Thank you, Sedona and thank you TikTok. 

In addition, several of the next Final Fours will also be held in states with, let’s say politely, questionable politics. These include the 2024 Final Four at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, 2025’s at Tampa’s Amalie Arena, 2027’s at Columbus’ Nationwide Arena, 2028 at Indianapolis’ Gainbridge Fieldhouse (also the home of the Indiana Fever), then 2029 back in Texas at San Antonio’s Alamodome and 2031 back in Big D at the American Airlines Center. 

Granted…Texas has not been in the news much for anything remotely inhumane. But given how business is conducted in Austin, we know that can change at the drop of a dime. After all…there is only so much carrying of that state Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley can do. 

In addition, it was announced a few months ago that the 2023 Athletes Unlimited basketball season will take place in Dallas. Fair Park Coliseum will play host to the 2023 rendition of Athletes Unlimited basketball. The 2022 Athletes Unlimited volleyball season was also staged at Fair Park Coliseum.

Not only that, another marquee event on the women’s and girls’ basketball calendar is also slated to take place in Texas. That would be the McDonald’s All-American girls and boys games. These are usually held in Chicago – and was last year at Wintrust Arena (home of the Chicago Sky) in the first edition for the event since the pandemic. 

Instead, the Lone Star State’s largest city will get the nod this time on March 28 at the Toyota Center – home venue of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. 

To be fair, it will be gratifying for those girls players who are named McDonald’s All-Americans to play in a city with a rich women’s basketball history thanks to the championships won by the Houston Comets. Hopefully some of those ex-Comets will be on hand for the festivities. 

But it is still somewhat questionable business for women’s sports entities to do business in a state that has shown itself these past few years to be as anti-woman as any in the country. This is especially the case in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that effectively 86’d Roe v. Wade. 

Sports entities like the NCAA, Athletes Unlimited and McDonald’s All-American need to really think twice before doing certain business with those states. There are more than enough states in the U.S. of A that actually respect women not only as bodies but as people. Plenty of suits will also say that it is too expensive to do business in those certain states, but one cannot put a price on valuing women (particularly Black, Brown, Asian, Muslim and Native Americans) as humans first and commodities second. 

And this is not even considering how certain states value the LGBTQIA+ community in juxtaposition to others. 

For those that are going to any of the three aforementioned events in Texas, hopefully those events go off without a hitch and everyone that has the privilege to be part of those experiences will have a great time. But there just feels something especially dirty about the idea of a state like Texas that only sees women as second class citizens and yet wants to make money off their God-given athletic gifts.