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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid