After two decades in the league, the 41-year-old’s career is over after the loss Against Las Vegas aces in Game Four of the semi-finals. Bird retires from the sport with four WNBA championships and five Olympic gold medals. But even though Bird was the first NBA player in 2002, she spent years playing abroad to supplement her salary from the league. I told 60 minutes That her salary was ten times higher in Russia than hers in the WNBA, which started at less than $60,000.
Playing outside in the off-season is a popular trend among American basketball players, who can make millions internationally but only earn Averaged around $120,000 annually during their WNBA seasons. The issue gained more attention when a WNBA player Britney Greiner He was arrested in Russia on drug charges earlier this year. Greiner has played in Russia for the past seven years, earning over $1 million annually. As a top WNBA player, Griner earns the league’s maximum salary of $221,000. For comparison, the Average salary of an NBA player About 7 million dollars.
Former WNBA Champion and Basketball Hall of Fame, Tamika CatchingsThis problem is also known directly. The Indiana Fever forward played 16 seasons with the WNBA before retiring in 2016. Her skills on the court earned her multiple titles and championships in the United States, but the Catchings are still looking for international opportunities in places like Poland, South Korea, Brazil and Russia. “I think now what it takes is that more people talk about the wage gap, and they don’t care as much about burning bridges and all that, but really just kind of standing up for what you believe in,” Catchings told MAKERS who is following her retirement. “As a league, we must find ways to make more money for our league.”
In 2018, the WNBA was almost created $60 million in revenue While the National Basketball Association brought $8.8 billion in the same year. This year, the National Basketball Association reported a record $10 billion in revenue For the 2021-2022 season. And while the viewership of women’s basketball is also lower when compared to the NBA, the WNBA has just made Most watched regular season in 14 years with a 16 percent viewership increase across national television partners.
But the players say it’s not just about compensation. Major international tournaments – such as those played by Greiner controlled by Russian oligarchs – also provide players with their own apartments, private car services and luxury travel privileges similar to those afforded to their American male counterparts in the NBA.
“I really think it comes down to marketing,” Catchings told MAKERS. “How do we advance the WNBA as a whole?” Bird thinks one way to do this is to give mathematics more visibility. “we [women] They make up half the world’s population,” I told my makers last year. “By not highlighting women, and not using it in your commercials, you’re really not allowing half the population to communicate.” Elevating the WNBA also means developing it with things like longer seasons and bigger rosters. League hopes to be recently $75 million capital increase – The largest women’s sports property ever – helping to dribble the ball.
Another potential sign of change emerged before the start of the 2020 season when the NBA and Players’ Association struck a new deal collective bargaining agreement. The deal guarantees benefits such as an average six-figure salary, higher wages for star players and fully paid maternity leave. However, the agreement does not include Equal profit sharing. “There are more changes, such as prioritizing families, fertility, and the ability to achieve other goals,” Catchings told Dallas College recently. “WNBA players earn more than I made when I played, and you know I haven’t been gone in a long time. But [pay equity] It’s something we have to keep looking at.”
Even with the ban of lucrative Russian patrols due to the ongoing war with Ukraine, the detention of Greiner and new sanctions in place, America is basketball players They still plan to play in countries like Turkey and Hungary during this year’s season. “I hope to be able to instill and see this change in the league and see players making more money here in America, not having to go abroad to be able to make more money,” Catchings said.