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WNBA Season Tips Off

by John Wroblewski

Jul 20, 2020

Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello

After a long delay, the WNBA season tips off July 25 and 26, with triple-headers featuring all 12 teams. The league’s 24th season takes place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and includes a 22-game schedule for each team.

On opening weekend, player jerseys will display “Black Lives Matter” and “Breonna Taylor” to raise awareness for the social justice movement. For the rest of the season, players will wear warm-up shirts displaying “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back.

Allisha Gray

In separate media sessions with the Connecticut Sun, the Phoenix Mercury, and the Dallas Wings, players and coaches talked about the new conditions, social issues and the upcoming season.

Everyone talked about using their position as a platform for the social justice movement. “Black Lives Matter” will be prominently displayed on shoes, clothing, the courts and elsewhere as the WNBA becomes the first pro league to be major advocates for social change.

Skylar Diggins-Smith

The Mercury’s Skylar Diggins-Smith was the most emotional, almost in tears, as she discussed how tough it is being a black woman and how much it means to have the platform to promote change. Bria Hartley followed her by talking about teaching her young son, who is there with her, about being proud of who he is.

Diana Taurasi
ID 123550852 © Keeton10 | Dreamstime.com

Other players, including the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner and the Sun’s Beatrice Mompremier and Jasmine Thomas and the Wings Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale, Moriah Jefferson and Allisha Gray, admitted although they will not miss the hectic pace of travel, they will miss the restaurants, arenas and sights of the 12 cities in the league. Gray added that they don’t get to experience much in other cities because away games are really just “business trips.” They do like the convenience and proximity of things like workout rooms, food and teammates.

Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello

Mercury coach Sandy Brondello, Sun coach Curt Miller and Wings assistant coaches Bryce Agler and  Crystal Robinson spoke like true coaches: It doesn’t matter where they are playing, it’s still the same game. The hectic schedule of 22 games in 50 days makes it tougher to balance playing time for players.

While I’ll miss going to Chicago Sky games, I am happy live sports are coming back. I’ll be watching and cheering for the Sky from a new rotation of sports bars.

— John Wroblewski, online writer

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