An Introduction to the WNBA

Look around the sporting world, and basketball is among the most popular sports around. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the leading basketball league in the world. Only the likes of the European-based EuroLeague even get close to the same competitive standard, and even then the drop-off is stark. The female equivalent of the NBA, the WNBA, is one of the most popular sports leagues in America and, like the NBA, the best female basketball league in the world.

Photo: Stephen Baker/Unsplash

While it is growing in popularity at a massive rate today, its growth is even more impressive when you factor in how young it is. The WNBA only came to be in 1996 and has typically been a 12-team league compared to the 30 teams in the NBA. It started as an 18-team league, with 12 teams today existing and six of them having an NBA PARTNER.

The first ever WNBA points were scored by Penny Toler, who played for the Los Angeles Spark – she scored against the New York Liberty. At the time of writing, the all-time top scorer in the WNBA is Diana Taurasi. With over 9,600 points in her career so far, she is comfortably ahead of the second spot, Tina Thompson. 

Photo: Mira Kireeva/Unsplash

While Toler retired early into her basketball career, today there are many female basketball legends. The likes of Sue Bird and Candace Parker are icons for the next generation, having helped turn the WNBA into a sporting powerhouse.

Basketball is quite a transient league experience, and the WNBA is no different. Typically, players can hope for an average of around five years in the league before moving on. Some, though, stick around for much longer.

With 25 years on the clock, the WNBA has become a much more popular league in recent years. The massive increase in quality paired with the outstanding marketing around the league means that it is more visible and accessible than ever before.

With so many legends around the league, today and so many great young names just starting their WNBA careers, and with the promise of more teams to come as expansion continues, the WNBA could enjoy a similar boom to other major basketball leagues shortly.