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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs