I, just like many male sports fans — and I’m sure some female ones as well — across the country, am guilty of poking fun at the WNBA from time to time.
We make jokes about how Darko Milicic belongs in the WNBA, how our YMCA-league team could beat a WNBA All-Star team, and laugh whenever Sportscenter shows highlights of unspectacular layups and mid-range jumpers from the WNBA Finals.
While it’s true that the NBA-owned women’s league isn’t profitable compared to men’s game, the vast majority of the players can’t dunk, and the average attendance rarely reaches 5-figures, the WNBA and its players get ripped far more than they deserve.
While many basketball fans might not be enamoured with the women’s game, you have to respect them for doing their thing and getting paid to do it.
And here in town, I’m willing to bet the Minnesota Lynx bandwagon is going to get mighty full as the summer goes on. Locally, the stage is set for the Lynx, yes the Lynx, to have a breakout season, not only in terms of wins and losses, but also in the public eye.
It’s been well-chronicled on this blog that our major sports teams have struggled recently. The Wolves just finished another laughably horrible season, the Twins are the absolute worst baseball team in the majors, and Vikings talk is limited to stadium legislation and lockout litigation.
With all that negativity, we Minnesota sports fans are yearning for one of our teams, ANY of our teams to give us something to cheer about. And the Minnesota Lynx have every opportunity to do it.
It all starts with the selection of Maya Moore, the transcendent talent from the University of Connecticut whom the Lynx took No. 1 overall in this spring’s draft.
According to a Startribune article, a survey of all WNBA general managers was recently conducted and Moore was named the newcomer who will have the biggest impact on her team and the league as well as the player most coveted to start a franchise with.
She’s the type of player who is talented enough to engage even the most prejudiced sports fan. No, you sitting at home, there is no way you could take her one-on-one. She’s a baller, and her star power is likely going to be the driving force behind Lynx’s emergence in popularity this summer.
Obviously, the unique opportunity the Lynx have is totally contingent on how well they play this season. No one is going to go out to Target Center or tune into a Lynx game on television if they are losing. We can watch any of our other teams if we wanted to watch losing.
If Moore and the rest of the assembled talent on the Lynx roster, including hometown star Lindsay Whalen and former high draft picks Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins, can prove to be as good on the court as they appear to be on paper, it’s quite possible that we won’t be hearing very many wise-cracks about the Lynx this summer.
I’ve been laughed at by friends for actually knowing the names of the key players on the Lynx.
“You know way too much about that team,” they say, looking unsure if they want to hang out with me anymore.
But I still believe that if head coach Cheryl Reeve (yup, I know the head coach’s name too) can figure out a way to turn all the talent she has at her disposal into a playoff run, the haters — locally anyway — will be hard to find.