Via For The Win
NEW YORK–Elena Delle Donne continues to fight for equality in her sport, recently telling New York Magazine she would like to see the media to refer to her and her WNBA counterparts as “basketball players” and not “female basketball players.”
But there is one thing the Chicago Sky forward would like to see changed to further set the WNBA apart from the NBA: A lowered rim.
“I think it would bring a whole different aspect to the game and bring viewership as well and show the athleticism of our women,” she told For The Win at Nike’s Innovation Summit on Wednesday. “We do every single thing on that court that the men do, other than the dunking. And, obviously, there is a handful of athletes who can dunk.”
“But when look at other sports like volleyball, their net’s lower,” she continued. “Golf, their tees are closer. It goes on and on. Tennis, they play [fewer] sets. Why not lower our rim and let every single player player in the league play above the rim like the NBA can?”
At 6-foot-5, the reigning WNBA MVP is one of those players with above-the-rim abilities.
She added she hasn’t heard any reaction the idea after mentioning in a recent Players’ Tribune mailbag that would be her one rule change.
“I might even get pushback from fellow WNBA players,” she said, “but I stand by it. It would bring a whole different viewership to the game and it’d be fun. It’d be so exciting.”
From a visibility point of view, she has a point. Think about how many times Brittney Griner grabs headlines when she dunks. And Delle Donne noted none other than legendary UConn coach Geno Auriemma has long been a proponent of the idea for the college game. Here’s what he told the Hartford Courant in 2012:
“What makes fans not want to watch women’s basketball is that some of the players can’t shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down.
“How to help improve that? Lower the rim. Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women’s volleyball than men’s volleyball? It’s about seven inches shorter so the women have the chance for the same kind of success at the net [as the men].”
Auriemma didn’t even want a drastic change — he proposed a 7.2-inch switch (in honor of the 1972 landmark law Title IX) to account for the hypothetical average difference in women’s height versus men’s. A slightly lowered rim, he added, means “fewer missed layups” and “more tip-ins.” It also would introduce plays like alley-oops.
“I have Geno on my side,” Delle Donne said on Wednesday. “And I feel like having Geno Aurriema in your back pocket is always a great thing. If the greatest coach in the world believes we should do it, then we probably should do it.”