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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

July 25, 2006 at 8:50 PM

Your thoughts?

Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson wanted to know what I thought about her team’s sale to Oklahoma City-based businessmen before she shared her feelings. I told her the same thing I’ve been spouting all week — I can’t believe NBA commissioner David Stern would move the Storm franchise.
I can’t see the Sonics leaving either, but I’ve seen that happen before in the NBA.
With the Storm, people will really see what kind of person Stern is.
I travel with the team and nowhere in the WNBA do you find what Seattle has cultivated. So, if it’s moved just because the NBA side of the deal isn’t what the new owners want, then I’ll have to give in to the belief that the women were nothing but a second thought to make money off of during the summer months when the real show — the NBA — is done competing. If the Storm relocates to Oklahoma City — or anywhere else in America — then Stern and WNBA president Donna Orender are full of malarkey.
I don’t care what circumstances they claim in 12 months because, according to a past interview with Karen Bryant, the Storm’s chief operating officer and director of communications, the Storm operate on its own budget, paying its own rent to play 17 home games in KeyArena and was still able to break even in 2005, aided by the 2004 championship, which was part of the fiscal year.
The facility may not have space for a splashy jungle gym for kids and in-arena conference rooms for sponsors, but that’s not stopping anyone from buying tickets and merchandise. Fans don’t even complain much about the squished seats.
The NBA and its ESPN television partner already treat the women like second-class citizens, the latest examples being the filming the ESPYs the same day as the WNBA All-Star game on the cable station, filling the program with homophobic jokes, and announcing the Storm/Sonics sale the day of a big game for the Storm, which was also “kid’s day.” Explain that mommy or daddy.
Yet, establishing a league on the emotion of Title IX and killing the American Basketball League so that the NBA can reap all the profits off of women’s hoops only to move the team from, in my opinion, its most successful location would put Stern on the same list as fried okra in my book.
And that ain’t the good list.

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