Rarely do official press releases offer revealing quotes. It’s why sports reporters value access to athletes so much – for the opportunity to get a fresh take. Still, when the WNBA released its 20 greatest and most influential players in conjunction with the league’s 20th season, there was a key phrase in a statement from former Connecticut standout and current pro star Maya Moore:
“I grew up watching the WNBA, and to be in a class of athletes of the caliber that this league has produced over the past 20 years is a huge honor.” Notice the phrase, “I grew up watching the WNBA.”
There have been plenty of rocky moments for the league, but the WNBA is still around. It’s still a viable business. It’s still drawing a fan base. And what’s crucial to the long-term success of a professional women’s sports league is that current players grew up with the WNBA, even if it’s barely an afterthought to the general American sports landscape. Two decades and one generation put the WNBA in a position of strength moving forward.