Archive for November, 2018

Aaaaaand we’re off!

Or maybe, more accurately, “I’m off.” Gonna take a little pause here at the blog. Been doing this for 15 years, a hunk of that solo, and I’m a little tuckered out.

Like to think that WHB has brought some diversity to the news feed, a little humor, some history and some activism salted with a little snark. May ponder something weekly. But we shall see.

Lots of good folks doing news aggregating and creating original content. Follow them, amplify them, spend your money on them.

No. Really. Spend your money on them. If you think WNBA players should be paid more, spend your money. If you think NCAA players should get more coverage, spend your money.

Oh, and if you think the Liberty should stay in New York, spend your money on them. Please.

And as a last, blatant self-promo: Pretty proud of this: “We Got Next!” The History of the WNBA

On June 21st, 1997, Lisa Leslie, center for the Los Angeles Sparks, and Kym Hampton, center for the New York Liberty, took the ceremonial “jump ball” marking the official start of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Leslie, 25, had just earned an Olympic gold medal as part of the 1996 US National team. Hampton, who’d graduated from Arizona State University in 1984, had spent the last twelve years playing professional basketball in Spain, Italy, France, and Japan. Between the two stood league president Val Ackerman. A four-year starter at the University of Virginia, in 1977 Ackerman had been one of school’s first female students to receive an athletic scholarship.

As the orange and oatmeal-paneled ball was tossed into the air, their names were added to the ever-expanding road of women’s basketball history. Retracing their route backwards through time, you would see the first NCAA women’s basketball champions, Louisiana Tech (1982), pass the Women’s Basketball League of 1979-81, and pause for a visit with the Mighty Macs of tiny Immaculata University (Malvern, PA), winners of  the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women’s first collegiate basketball championship (1972). Next, you’d circle the major road marker of Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, which revitalized and revolutionized women’s college athletics. Further down the road would be the legacy of US National Teams in the 50’s, and 60’s and the “industrial teams” of 1930’s and 40’s sponsored by companies such as Maytag and Hanes Hosiery. Avoiding the Women’s Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation’s attempt to strangle the sport in the late ‘20s by eliminating high school tournaments, a final exhilarating zig-zag through the nationwide explosion of the game’s popularity in the 1900’s would find you at the starting place: a gym at Smith College in 1892, right down the road from the birthplace of men’s basketball, Springfield, MA.


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