In the grand scheme of things, 27 years may not seem like much. But in the context of where the WNBA is – a 27 year-old league going on 28 – it is a long time indeed.
Not too long ago, a tweet from one of WNBA Twitter’s foremost journalists in Alford Coriette got our attention. He writes for Her Hoop Stats and is based in New York – so he centers much of his coverage around the Liberty. He tweeted an idea for a WNBA program – WNBA Hardwood Classics.
It would be based of NBA TV’s NBA Hardwood Classics and would also use old-school editing to give it more of a classic feel.
It got us to thinking – how is it that NBA TV has not yet already come up with such an idea? Especially considering that the NBA’s offseason runs concurrent to the WNBA’s regular season, that is a time when NBA TV could be swimming in WNBA content.
And there are more than enough programming ideas that would make for a compelling watch.
That WNBA Hardwood Classics idea? There is more than enough old school game content from the WNBA’s 27 years to fill its own channel – let alone a few hours a day on NBA TV. Heck – the last time there was a WNBA game played would qualify as one of those Hardwood Classics in itself – when the Las Vegas Aces defeated the New York Liberty in a thrilling 70-69 finish in Game 4 of this year’s Finals.
Not to mention profiles of important figures in WNBA history. Those could be all-time great players such as Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Swin Cash, Teresa Weatherspoon, Maya Moore, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson. Those could even be coaches such as Cheryl Reeve and Becky Hammon (who of course was also a player). Commissioners/league presidents such as Lisa Borders and Cathy Engelbert. The possibilities are endless.
How about this – a program that features the lives of former players and what they have partaken in after the conclusion of their playing days. We know in the case of Alana Beard that she was involved in an effort to bring the WNBA to Oakland. Of course, the group she was part of, the African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) lost out to Joe Lacob and the Golden State Warriors, but we know Beard after her playing days was looking to go into the tech sector.
Others eventually became former coaches. We know in the case of Sylvia Fowles that she wanted to be a mortician following the conclusion of her playing days. Others became media personalities. Others like Swin Cash made forays into NBA front offices. Others like Tamika Catchings have started their own businesses.
Another idea for a program we feel would be a great watch would be intersecting WNBA players with the culture. They have done a great job of that on social media, but we are proposing a more in-depth look into off-the-court ventures of various players. For example – Betnijah Laney and DiDi Richards at New York Fashion Week. Or when one or a few are promoting sneakers (where are A’ja Wilson’s signature kicks, Nike?)
And, of course, one cannot forget news programming. NBA TV already has this with WNBA Weekly. Women’s Sports Network has this with Game On which runs the full spectrum of the women’s sports landscape.
We could go on and on and on with ideas for more WNBA and women’s sports programming because the possibilities really are endless. And if not NBA TV, why not Women’s Sports Network?
After all, the W is one of Women’s Sports Network’s partners. Not to mention they air games from the past two seasons of Athletes Unlimited as well.
Such programs could also come in useful during periods like this when plenty of aficionados such as ourselves may be going through W withdrawals. After all, there is a long time between now and May.
But as with all things women’s sports related, the interest is certainly there. The question is always the investment. And if the last few years have told us something, it is long past time for the level of investment to match the level of interest.