Seattle Storm’s Star Forward Breanna Stewart Loses Entire WNBA 2019 Season After Getting Injured Over Seas
Injury Puts Spotlight On The WNBA To Find Solution To Pay Gap Situation
WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart has undergone surgery to repair her ruptured right Achilles tendon.
Stewart suffered the injury while playing for Russian club Dynamo Kursk on in the EuroLeague Women championship game in Hungary.
The player on video seemed to land a little awkward on the foot of another WNBA star Brittney Griner after trying make a jump shot in later stage in the first half against UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team. Grabbed immediately for her lower right leg while writhing in a world of extreme pain .
Stewart was attended to by trainers on the court before being helped to the locker room.
The 24-year-old Stewart won four national titles at UConn and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA draft. She won both the league and finals MVP awards while leading the Storm to the franchise’s third WNBA title last season.
Stewart has played overseas in the offseason since she joined the WNBA.
WNBA Player Salaries Are So Low A Number Of Stars In The League Supplement An Income By Playing Year-Round Basketball
Stewart The Face Of The NBA
Breanna Stewart is the current WNBA Finals and regular season MVP who makes $64,538 a season .The NBA minimum salary is as follows:
Years Experience Salary
0 Yrs $838,4641
1 Yrs $1,349,3832
8 Yrs $2,165,4819
9 Yrs $2,176,26010+
10 Yrs $2,393,887
Stewart was playing for her Russian-based club Dynamo Kursk when she landed on the foot of Brittney Griner, the UMMC Ekaterinburg center, during EuroLeague title game. Stewart and Griner were among seven top WNBA players in that match up.
This incident draws highlights to the WNBA player low salaries and how a number of stars of the U.S. league supplement their income by playing year-round ball overseas. Stewart was the WNBA’s No. 1 overall pick in 2016 after leading the Connecticut Huskies to four consecutive NCAA National titles.She recieved a minor uptick in pay to the last year in her three-year base rookie deal.
Without taking time to rest in the off-season.Stewart and other players go overseas each year where, coincidentally, salaries for top players far outdistance the WNBA paltry pay.
The WNBA median salary is about $73,000; a max contract is $113,500. Top players in Russia, Europe and China can make $500,000 or more.
Sparks star Candace Parker won five titles with UMMC Ekaterinburg from 2010 to ’15 and also played in Turkey. She missed the first three games of the 2018 WNBA season with a back injury she suffered in China. She avoided overseas play last winter to work as a TV analyst with TNT cable network.
In 2017, Stewart left playing in China in need of minor knee surgery before the WNBA season.
According to her father, Brian Stewart .“I’m sure [extra playing] is a contributing factor,. “Unfortunately, since probably eight or nine years ago, this is going to be her longest break. Kind of forced. She pretty much goes year-around, like all the other players like her.”
The WNBA Players Association could view this issue as a point of contention to go on strike .Who could blame them . The In October the WNBA’s players collective bargaining agreement is set to expire .Might the only way these players can preserve thire bodies and get some much needed rest .
Players Want More Revenue Sharing Not Matching Salaries
WBNA players are not seeking to match NBA player salaries.On the contrary what they want addressed is the disparity in the percentage of revenues paid to players.With about an estimated 20.4 percent in the WNBA compared to 50 percent in the NBA .
WNBA players have been vocal about the pay gap between the NBA and the .
That places the average WNBA salary at less than $80,000, with a maximum base of $117,500 (plus bonuses that can bring it to around $150,000). Stewart made a base salary of $56,793 last season (set to rise to $64,538 in 2019), according to espnW’s Mechelle Voepel, plus bonuses totaling $38,525 for being league MVP, winning the WNBA title, making All-WNBA first team and being selected an All-Star.
WNBA players stand to make vastly more money playing overseas in places such as France, Spain, Turkey, China, Korea, Israel, Italy, Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium and Russia — and upward of 70 percent of the league chooses to do so.
Salaries for the elite players can approach, or even surpass, half a million dollars in those countries. Ominously for the league, Diana Taurasi elected to sit out the 2015 WNBA season because her Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, paid her $1.5 million — roughly 10 times her salary with the Phoenix Mercury. They essentially bought out Taurasi’s WNBA season to entice her to rest up and concentrate on the European campaign, which is what Cambage has alluded to as well.
The year-round playing, while lucrative, takes a physical (as well as a mental) toll. With her commitment to Team USA, Stewart has been grinding her way on the court virtually non-stop for years. She hurt her knee playing in China last winter, and now this Achilles injury has shelved her in her prime.
Taking into account Stewart played 42 WNBA games last season (including playoffs), plus 18 with her Russian team, and a handful for USA basketball, still not equaling an NBA regular season. But the key point is that players such as Stewart never have a sustained opportunity to rest their bodies, and it stands to reason that makes them more susceptible to injury.
What makes this especially vexing is that the WNBA is awash in red ink. It lost $12 million in 2018, and an average of $10 million a year over its existence, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated last December.
But it also has a product that may be better than it has ever been, with a slew of exciting, marketable stars. Ratings for the playoffs were up 30 percent. The WNBA remains the best league in the world for women’s basketball; just not the best-paid.
It won’t be easy to change that, because of the financial challenges the league faces. And let’s face it, the big money overseas always will be a lure, because of owners who are willing to pay it regardless of whether they turn a profit. The WNBA and the NBA must make it a priority to figure out a way to keep its best players, such as Breanna Stewart, from putting their bodies on the line virtually 12 months a year.
WNBA Can Solve Its Gender Pay Gap Says Jalen Rose
“My thought process is to build it, and they will come because it’s a terrific product [with] amazing storylines, players and so many accomplished people that are part and affiliated with the league,” Rose says to EBONY. “[The problem is WNBA players’] stories never get built out for public and national consumption. We don’t get a chance to get to know who they are away from the floor, which in most instances in sports and entertainment helps to draw [eyes] toward the product on the floor.”
He’s right. You don’t have to be an avid basketball fan to see the cultural impact of NBA superstars such as Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony. Rose credits this effect to good marketing. “The NBA is the best at maximizing its digital and social media audience. The NBA allows players to not only have a face but also a voice. [Fans] get a chance to appreciate not only the players’ who they are away from the floor terrific ability to play basketball.
In stark contrast, the of WNBA All-Stars stories rarely make it to the broader mainstream media outlets . Dallas Wings player Skylar Diggins discussed the disparity in coverage in an essay for Wealthsimple, a Canadian online investment management service, in which she criticized the pay gap. She revealed that as the highest paid player on her team, she still earns significantly less for the same amount of work as an NBA player. In addition, WNBA teams travel on commercial flights. This may seem “fair” to people who believe women are not entertaining ballplayers, but Rose debunks that idea and touches on how the league can become more enticing in a simple marketing step.
“How many times have you been in the car and a song came on the radio, and you knew the words to the song? Then you said to yourself, ‘I don’t even like that record,’ because what ends up happening is it becomes a part of your consciousness,’” the 45-year-old explains. “It becomes a part of your DNA because that’s what marketing, promotion and advertising entails: having it to where you can’t ignore it.”
There was a time in Rose’s childhood when the NBA didn’t have a “stronghold on the attention of the people globally.” He can remember in the league’s 72-year history when the games were on taped delay and “didn’t have the same level of cache.” He believes that WNBA players including Minnesota Lynx‘s Maya Moore, Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker have stories that could add to the appeal of the women’s franchise.
For example of a woman expanding the public’s interest in a sport is tennis player Serena Williams, who Rose makes sure to call “not one of the best female athletes, but one of the greatest athletes of all time.” He is aware that there is a glass ceiling that women need to shatter and wants the WNBA, which is just a 21-year-old league, to give its players that opportunity to do.
Rose thinks fans will grow to enjoy the league. He feels that will not happen unless the WNBA and NBA to work together to create a fiscal influx through marketing, promotion, and advertisers. First, the organizations need to show the players “the TLC and respect that they deserve as a league and as a pro athlete.
“As you build out the product and the fans see that you believe in it and it’s not like a flop out of your pants type of approach, I think that level of support will come,” Rose asserts.
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