News / USA

WNBA is Woman’s World, Guided by Men

Half of women's basketball league coaches are men

The Los Angeles women’s pro team’s newest coach - and the 6th out of 12 male team bosses - is Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant.
The Los Angeles women’s pro team’s newest coach - and the 6th out of 12 male team bosses - is Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant.

Multimedia

Audio
Ted Landphair

“We Got Game.”

That’s what the Women’s National Basketball Association - or WNBA - promised when the league was formed in 1996.

It set out to prove that women play an exciting, team-oriented game - albeit with fewer egocentric chest thumps and high-flying dunks of the basketball than muscular male players deliver.

The WNBA has survived with little television exposure into its 15th summer, thanks to extensive financial help from the male professional league and solid attendance in a few of its markets.

Other cities have not embraced the women’s game so well, however, and several WNBA franchises have folded over the years.

Donna Orender, who retired as WNBA commissioner after last season, said the best available coaches should be hired, period.
Donna Orender, who retired as WNBA commissioner after last season, said the best available coaches should be hired, period.

While the women’s pro game has been especially attractive to female fans - and an inspiration to female players who finally have a place to make a living at the sport - it has also drawn many male spectators, who say they appreciate unselfish play.

But an irritant for some in the league is that half of the 12 WNBA head coaches are men.  Already this year, the Los Angeles Sparks franchise fired its woman head coach and replaced her with a man - the father of Kobe Bryant, the superstar guard of the L.A. Lakers men’s basketball team.

Some of these coaches are former professional players who are using the women’s league as an entrée to coaching.  Others are retreads, having been fired from men’s pro or college teams. They all say they love directing hard-working female players.

One sign that the WNBA may finally have 'arrived' as a sports fixture: last year’s champions were featured on a Wheaties cereal box.
One sign that the WNBA may finally have 'arrived' as a sports fixture: last year’s champions were featured on a Wheaties cereal box.

And what do women WNBA coaches think?  

“There are a lot of great women’s coaches who haven’t gotten a chance,” Anne Donovan told the Washington Times newspaper a few years ago when she coached the Seattle Storm.  She was replaced by a man, moved to the New York Liberty team, left for a college job, and was succeeded by yet another male head coach.

League presidents, who have always been women, are appointed by the male National Basketball Association’s commissioner.  

No woman has ever coached a men’s NBA team or a top-level men’s college team. So it’s a sore point for some that a majority of the coaches of women who “got game” - and more than one-third of women’s college teams - have deep voices, facial hair and, in quite a few cases, receding hairlines.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs