Earlier this week, one-legged wrestler Anthony Robles won the NCAA championship and showed us anything is possible. While most of us are busy wringing our hands over our brackets (really, who saw Pitt losing in the second round, who?!), there's another great sports story in the news that doesn't have to do with men shooting hoops.
This one has to do with women shooting hoops, specifically Courtney Vandersloot. The 5'8" guard for Gonzaga went where no college woman -- or man -- has gone before. In the second-round NCAA tournament game against UCLA, Courtney scored her 2,000th point, making her the only college hoops player to score that much and have over 1,000 assists. When she shoots, she scores. When she passes, they score.
The most points any man had with 1,000 assists or more was 1,731. So Courtney can clearly expect tens of millions in endorsements and a five-year professional contract for twenty mil a year, right?
As if. Until women's sports, and the WNBA, bring in the revenue (i.e. fans), Courtney won't see the kind of money a male phenom player might. Maybe the worst part is that no one expects that she would, myself included.
Courtney's feat is more than impressive and she deserves everything that her hard work and shooting form will bring her. I wish it meant a shoe deal with Nike, and Sprite commercial, and a mansion in Windermere, Florida, but unfortunately I don't see that happening for the college senior. Maybe the most she can hope for at this point is a National Championship as she leads her Bulldogs into the Sweet 16.
The woman who held the record before Courtney conquered it was Suzie McConnell. She held the title of most assists and most points in a college career from 1988 up until Monday. She went on to play in the WNBA, win gold medals on the USA Women's Basketball team, coach in the WNBA, and now serves as the head coach of the Duquesne women's hoop team. Never heard of Suzie? Me neither.
I hope her basketball skills take her as far as she wants them to take her, but she may be better off, financially anyway, if she enters the good old daily grind like the rest of us.
The average starting salary in the WNBA is around $35,000 a year. The average starting salary in the NBA is $458,000 a year. A vet in the WNBA can earn up to $110,000 a year. I don't think I have to tell you how much the men make. OK, twist my arm. Kobe Bryant makes nearly $25 million a year.
We'll likely never hear of Courtney Vandersloot again, although I hope we do. I'll do my part and go see a Liberty game this summer, you know, support the league. Maybe get a hot dog and some popcorn. Fan up, women! And congrats to Courtney.
What do you think of women's basketball?
Photo via gozags.com