CHICAGO – Benita Harrison-Diggs travels to the coast of Virginia to go out with friends for the WNBA All-Star Game over the weekend. A.D. She remembers the joy of the “special” opening of the league in 1997 and hopes that 2022 will be like it.

Harrison-Digs, 63, was one of hundreds of fans outside the Winter Arena to encourage the country’s best female basketball players. “The atmosphere is electric,” she said, smiling.

But as happy as Harrison-Diggs was for the All-Star weekend in Chicago, she was disappointed.

“I’m a little upset that these women don’t get the recognition they deserve in the NBA,” she said. “You don’t get the same exposure, coverage and especially the same money.”

Harrison-Diggs and his teammates arrived for the WNBA skills competition and a three-point shooting, but confirmed that they were being held in a public meeting at a nearby convention center. Instead, she and her friends were in a nearby courtyard watching the proceedings as if they were at home. The match was originally scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN but was transferred to ESPNU at the last minute, and ESPN announced the completion of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon. Many fans do not have access to the popular ESPNU channel, and some have complained on social media. ESPN later announced that it would resume the skill competition.

Harrison-Diggs: “I wouldn’t have bothered the men.

Participation and enthusiasm were growing as he played for the WNBA 26th season, but the league’s balloon fan team came with a critical eye. Much of the league’s volunteerism has been built by stars such as Sue Bird, Diana Taurassi, Sylvia Falls and Candace Parker. But as they begin to retire, the WNBA is transitioning to a young league, a social media-talented talent and a fan base.

“I would love to see what they really want this weekend, some idea, some insight, what they want.

Palmer, a black man, was 6 years old when the WNBA first started. She immediately embraced him. “It’s the first time I’ve seen female basketball players like me, especially female athletes,” said Palmer.

Palmer grew up to be a teacher, but she was a fan of Atlanta’s dream. She said the league had changed for the better in many ways, but the All-Star weekend was a prime example for the area. to improve. In the last second, she said, I feel like something is thrown together. But the fans still have to go out and have a good time.

The WNBA said it had no access to the Winter Arena until Saturday night because it was used by the Cooking Convention. The league hosts fan events and banquet-only concerts outdoors, but Commissioner Kathy Ingelbert due to security concerns Mass shooting The league has decided to close its concerts to the public. A spokesman for the city and the Chicago Police Department declined to comment on the case.

On Sunday, 9,572 fans packed the 10,400-seat Winrest Arena for a star game. Las Vegas Aces Ajax Wilson and Minnesota Foxes captain Wilson Captain and Brenna Stuart and Seattle teammates Stuart. Team Wilson beat Stewart 134-112.

Brittany GreennerThe Phoenix Mercury has been named the Seven-Star Star of Honor. She has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February. Greenner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, Sat in court. All 22 stars He is wearing a jersey with Greener’s name And for the second half number 42.

Chicago’s Aaron Brown, a long-time Fall fan, said he would not miss the “World” star game. According to Brown, most men think women’s basketball is “boring,” but for him, women’s basketball is “cleaner and more fun.”

“The beauty of women’s basketball is fundamental – they play at IQ and men’s level of skill,” he said. “Of course you have to use not only your body but also your mind. Most men can get out of athletics but they don’t have the basics.

His favorite player is Aces guard Kelsey Plum. She is imprisoned. Maya MooreHe was named the star player with 30 points and the most valuable player. According to Brown, Plum does not get as much attention as other big names in the league.

“They only push the same five or six,” he said. “There are a lot of good players here who will not leave in two years. They need to be lit. ”

Patrick Schmidt of the Detroit area agreed that the league “wants to see more black stars than just legends.”

Some fans also commented on the pay gap between WNBA and NBA players.

By 2022, the WNBA team’s salary cap is $ 1.4 million, and the player’s maximum wage is less than $ 230,000. In the NBA, team wages will be over $ 123 million for the 2022-23 season, and the top players will earn about $ 50 million a year.

“It doesn’t make sense for a female basketball star to be less than a bench player in the NBA,” says Chicago supporter Sterling Haitour. “I’m a big NBA fan. There are people in the NBA who don’t even know who works better than Diana Taurus and his bird.

Cynthia Smith, who has bought a ticket to freedom for 24 years, openly stated: “It’s out of sight, out of mind.” Exposing “

Over the weekend, many players, such as the Mercury Guard Skylar Digins-Smith, echoed the fans’ thoughts.

Fans have long complained about how difficult it is to watch games on multiple platforms such as ESPN, Twitter, Facebook and the Buggy WNBA app.

“They tell me I have to go through three applications, I’m not seeing that. Let’s be honest there,” Wilson said. “I think that’s the key to how the league grows.”

Plum agreed, saying she wanted to see the league make it easier to watch games. “We understand the product is great, and people love it when we let them watch the game,” she said. But the hardest part is getting people there.

The bird, who will retire this year after 21 seasons in the league, says the key is to renegotiate television rights over the next two years.

“It’s time,” said the bird. This can really open things up and change the overall direction of our league.

Los Angeles Sparks forward and president of the WNBA Players’ Association, Neka Ogumumike, said: “The league is really about something big.”

“Magic is the word. Expansion. ”

they said 12 groups, with 12 list places Each. She said the league was analyzing demographics, women’s basketball “fan” and spectator data from 100 cities and that new teams could be on the horizon by 2025. She also said that getting the right media package was her “first business” this year.

It is one of the biggest trends in the league. Activities around social justice. The next wave of activity may be around abortion rights after the Supreme Court Copied ro v. Wade. Stuart called the decision “disgusting” and “heartbreaking” and anticipated discussions would take place on how to handle events in the near future. Explains the conditions under which abortion is prohibited.

“As we continue to fight these social issues and racial, gender, sexual orientation and all forms of injustice, the league must turn its back on us in every way,” she said.

Birw said the change in social and political issues has made a big difference among players.

“I think back to my work, and I was part of a closed and dripping generation that we did – we don’t complain much or talk much about things, because we’re scared,” she said. We gained our strength through our voices, and I am proud to be a part of this little one at the end of my career.

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