It gets old when people look at me and say, “You play basketball, right?” As if that is the only thing I do. But that’s not the annoying part. It’s the part when everyone automatically assumes that I want to go to the WNBA.
Sometimes you really can’t blame them, because the average person assumes that the WNBA is equivalent to the NBA, but is it really?
In 2011 the average number of fans at any given NBA game was 17,319. On the other hand, the average number of fans at a WNBA game was 7,955.
If we look at the numbers, an average salary in the NBA during the 2013-2014 season was $4.9 million. But prime time players made so much more. For example Kobe Bryant, who was the top paid player in the league that year, made $30.45 million.
The average salary for WNBA players was $72,000 in 2012, and the minimum sat as low as 36,570 for rookies; I think that minimum still stands true today. The same goes for the maximum salary per player, which is $105,000.
Now you tell me, would you want to play in the WNBA if you knew you could make more money going into a different profession outside of professional women’s basketball?
But then here comes the comments like, “But you do it for the love of the game, right?”
Many WNBA players have second jobs, many of which are playing overseas in European leagues.
For those who do not know, the money in women’s basketball is overseas. When women go to play overseas they can make anywhere from $100,000+, much better than the $105,000 cap they were looking at in the WNBA. But keep in mind that this is their second job. They play year around and it is taxing on their bodies.
When it comes to the NBA, their season is long, 6 months, but they do get a break. On the other hand, the WNBA season is 4 months long, but after the women will usually go directly from their season in the WNBA into their season’s overseas. Often, many of the WNBA players will not be back for the start of their season because they are finishing up their contracts with their overseas teams.
I’m sure they fit a break in here or there, but it is nothing like the extended break that an NBA player receives.
Again, I ask you, would the WNBA be you’re end goal knowing what you know now?
There is always that statement that, “Not every WNBA player plays overseas.”
Yes, you are correct, but that still does not take away from the fact that they hold more than one job. Of course these remarkable women can do more than just play. The majority of these women have a completed college degree upon entering the league. This is partly due to the WNBA’s mandatory age/education policy.
On top of that, many of the premier female players endorse different brands and generate an income that way. But just like every NBA player doesn’t have an endorsement deal, neither does every WNBA player, and from the trend that we have already seen, I could guess that they are paid less.
Now, ask me one more time why the WNBA isn’t my end goal.
It’s not because I don’t love playing basketball and it’s not solely because of the money. It is really because after years of receiving a quality education, I have come to find that playing professionally is not my plan A. I have dreams and passions that go far beyond the hardwood and playing ball has ultimately been an enjoyable way to get me to where I am and where I’ve wanted to go. But to deny my other aspirations would be to do a disservice to myself.
If the opportunity ever came up where I could play professionally, right now I don’t think I would say no, but if I did, don’t look at me crazy and say I didn’t tell you so.