Tag: women’s pro basketball

WNBA President Lisa Borders Withdraws Player Fines Regarding Anti-Violence Shirts

WNBA President Lisa Borders (photo via nytimes.com)
WNBA President Lisa Borders (photo via nytimes.com)

article via espn.go.com

NEW YORK — The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams and players who showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warm-up shirts before games.

WNBA president Lisa Borders applauds the league’s players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court.  Borders said in a statement Saturday that the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”

Borders also tweeted her support for the players.

Each organization had been fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.

The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

“It’s a huge win overall,” said Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, who is president of the WNBA players’ union. “I think more than anything I told [Borders] at times you’re going to agree to disagree. With this, I’m really proud of the players standing strong and for utilizing their voices. Change starts with us. We have a social responsibility as well.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday that his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”

The Liberty wore the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday against Washington. Indiana and Phoenix donned the shirts Tuesday night before their nationally televised game.

“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” Liberty president Isiah Thomas said. “We are also very proud of our players; the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”

The fines were administered Wednesday, and neither the Fever nor the Liberty wore the shirts at their matinee game Thursday. Tina Charles did wear her warm-up shirt inside-out in honor of a shooting in Florida that morning.

Charles said she was happy that the league rescinded the fines. She has donated her entire salary this year to her charity — Hopey’s Heart Foundation — so the withdrawn fine means more money that will help buy automated external defibrillators.  Still, she said it was “embarrassing” that the players had been fined in the first place.

To read full article, go to: http://espn.go.com/wnba/story/_/id/17131967/wnba-withdraws-fines-regarding-anti-violence-shirts

Magic Johnson’s Investment Group Buys WNBA’s L.A. Sparks

Magic Johnson

An investment group led by Magic Johnson and controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark R. Walter, has bought the WNBA franchise Los Angeles Sparks. The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors have unanimously approved the sale.  The investment group includes Dodger co-owners Todd L. Boehly, Robert L. Patton and Stan Kasten.

The franchise will remain in Los Angeles and play at Staples Center. The WNBA’s 2014 game and television schedule will also be announced this week.  “We are thrilled to welcome Magic Johnson and Mark Walter to the WNBA,” said WNBA president Laurel J. Richie. “With their proven track record in the business realm, their commitment to the city of Los Angeles through civic engagement, and their passion for the game of basketball, we look forward to partnering with our new owners to usher in a new era for this iconic team. This is a great day for Los Angeles, the Sparks franchise, its players, and of course, the loyal fans who have been so supportive of the team for 17 seasons.”

Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships in the 1980s, has been involved with the Dodgers since before the 2012 season.  “This is a great day for the city of Los Angeles and the Sparks,” Johnson said. “The leaders of this great city came together quickly to keep this franchise right where it belongs—in the city of Angels. Thanks to my sister, Evelyn, playing college basketball, I have a great appreciation of the talented players that represent the WNBA. Our group will now work together to bring our loyal fans another WNBA championship. ”

Johnson pushed some of his fellow owners of the Dodgers to buy the Sparks after Lakers ownership had decided to pull out.  “Earvin came to me and said we need to help save the Sparks and keep them in Los Angeles,” Walter said. “The decision was quite easy for our investment group due to the passion Magic has for this city, these great athletes and our phenomenal fans. This team and its great players should remain a part of the sports fabric of this wonderful city.”

One of the league’s original eight teams, Los Angeles won the WNBA championship in 2001 and 2002, and is the last team to have earned titles in consecutive seasons. Los Angeles advanced to the Western Conference Finals in three of the past six seasons, most recently in 2012. A trio of WNBA All-Stars – forward/center Candace Parker, forward Nneka Ogwumike, and guard Kristi Toliver – headline a talented roster. The reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker also earned the honor during her rookie season in 2008. Ogwumike took home the WNBA Rookie of the Year award in 2012, the same year Toliver earned the WNBA Most Improved Player award.

article via usatoday.com

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Minnesota Lynx Monica Wright Engaged

Kevin Durant and Monica Wright
Kevin Durant and Monica Wright

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is engaged to Minnesota Lynx guard Monica Wright. Wright confirmed the engagement following Minnesota’s 91-59 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday night.

Durant, who was selected with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, just completed his sixth season in the NBA. The 24-year-old forward averaged 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season. Wright is in her fourth season in the WNBA. She played her college ball at Virginia and turns 25 on July 15.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press via thegrio.com