Two current WNBA players are starting a basketball league for other women players to participate in when the season is over.
According to ESPN, Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier and New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart have exclusively told the media outlet about their plans for a new basketball league. The league will allow players to stay in the United States instead of going overseas to make money during the offseason.
“It’s the ability for players to stay home, to be in a market like Miami where we can just be the buzz and create that with the best WNBA players,” Stewart told ESPN. “We can’t keep fighting [the WNBA’s prioritization rule]. It is a rule that takes away our choices, which should never be a thing, especially as women, but it is still a rule.”
The WNBA has a new league rule stipulating that players must return to the States from overseas by the start of WNBA training camps. Unrivaled intends to provide the women (during the offseason) with money through private funding and sponsorships to provide similar pay to what players earn overseas.
The women’s basketball leagues overseas are typically still playing games through mid-May. But that overlaps with the start of the WNBA season.
Stewart started talking to Collier and her husband, Alex Bazzell, about starting a women’s league in the United States during the WNBA offseason.
“We went to dinner in New York, and [Bazzell] was explaining the idea of being a part of this league where it’s like you’re on an all-digital basketball court, you’re playing 3-on-3, one-on-one, queen-of-the-court type thing where you hold bragging rights, but also make a salary that’s kind of set in stone but also can always grow bigger,” Stewart said.
“We’ve all been talking and realizing that we’re missing a moment, having a lot of our players be overseas or not playing basketball [during the offseason]. … I think top players, they want to be playing, right? They want to be home, they want to be playing, but it has to make sense. It has to be right, and the money has to be right. And I think that’s what Unrivaled is trying to do.”
Source: Black Enterprise