Michelle Wie was the greatest young Golf phenom since the Tiger with the woods and irons that she once entered a men’s tournament and held her own, bunker to birdie, to eagle.
WNBA legend Becky Hammon has held down such a great assistant coaching position with the modern day, storied San Antonio Spurs franchise that many believe will one day inherit her the head job once Coach Pop calls it a Hall of Fame, classic career. Which could be Kawhi Leonard sooner than DeMar DeRozan later.
Most WNBA greats-whether Candace Parker or Diana Taurasi, it doesn’t discriminate like some fans of the bigger, NBA brother-spend their offseason overseas. Earning bigger bucks that they should be equally paid for here in the European leagues. Which themselves are a hoop masterclass of their own. Remember from Nowitzki’s to today’s biggest unicorns, we have imported some of the goods when it comes to floor spreading skills from across the oceans. This could make for a hell to play schedule, especially when you factor in the Summer Olympics (Tokyo is less than two calenders away) and World Championships when the actual Women’s National Basketball is in season and break of play.
And the backwards and blatantly, downright disrespectful gender pay gap needs to be closed by the buzzer, like it has in the ‘Times Up’ called to the harassment of those Hollywood types who think their race or gender entitles them to all sorts of evils we ourselves could never survive like those brave ones who now finally have a voice too, like they always should have had. It, like many other things in all reality needs to be addressed for real, right now. More than just sharing a powerful Nneka Ogwumike ‘Players Tribune’ piece in a timeline trend that will only make you look like you’re actually supporting the movement if you’re not actually doing something worthwhile to all that on a day to day basis.
Until then these WNBA players will roll up their sleeves and do something about it themselves, 24/7 like they always have, whether given the credit, or to hell with it not. And when it comes to the best of the (W)NBA basketball best, whether right now, or for all-time, it doesn’t get much bigger or better, from inception to today’s incarnation than Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird. Possibly the greatest Seattle franchise legend ever unless teammate Breanna Stewart’s already cornerstone career has something to history book rewrite about all that. Yeah we said it Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp…with all due respect. Sue-y and Stewie. Game recognizes game.
And now taking flight like she did in the clutch quarters of her latest championship, ring winning series against the mystified like INXS Mystics with all the Storm’s excess winds and hails, Bird has found a new nest for what should be her off-season break. And this time she doesn’t have to put on a mask to do it. As Sue her, because Bird is after more, spreading her wings and refusing to put her signature sneakers up. Or hang them up yet. You best believe the body of work for this ESPN issue came changer is still turning a page as the 38 year old will be lacing back up for her 17th record-breaking, history-making season. Making her and good friend and great rival Taurasi the closest thing to the original, great Spark Lisa Leslie.
But before all that there’s things to do in Denver when the season has passed.
Mining a front office position with the Nuggets. “Sue Storm” follows former coach Jenny Boucek (a Maverick assistant coach), and finals competitor Kristi Toliver of Washington, moonlighting with Wizards player development in truly crossing over in this game. And it came from another former Wizard Tim Connelly, connecting with her through old teammate and her old friend, ‘tuff juice’ legend Caron Butler. Now Connelly the President Of Basketball Operations for the Nevada franchise has a staff in his house that can turn the Paul Millsap past, Nikola Jokic present and Jamal Murray future into a powerhouse right now and tomorrow. A roster that used to be thinner than the air up there, is now gold all the way up to the front office, executive club, nosebleed stands as this team is at a cruising altitude now. And if they face any turbulence they could always let a girl named Sue suit up and watch the Bird fly. Custom orders are already being made for the new, technicolour throwback, 80’s style ‘City Edition’ Nuggets jerseys with Bird on the back.
She’s a part of their team now too and in following Hammon with a sneaker in the door this could lead to so much more. Who knows, if the soon to be saved Sonics finally get a franchise in Seattle again after all those sleepless nights, we couldn’t think of a more perfect, fitting coach to lead them from the point.
Sue’s using more than her legs now.
Canadian Kia Nurse breaking WNBA ankles & records
It was evidently clear to me back in 2014 that Kia Nurse was way ahead of schedule. We featured Nurse in our “Got Next” section of BasketballBuzz Magazine — not only highlighting her journey, superb skills but also her respect for the game and opponents via her mantra of “respect all, fear none.”
A lot has changed since that feature, but what hasn’t changed is her attitude and most of all her incredible all-around game.
Now in her second season with the WNBA’s New York Liberty, Nurse is breaking records and ankles – surpassing all exceptions as she is set to become Canada’s latest and greatest Canadian WNBA all-Star.
Nurse is currently averaging 16 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. More importantly, she takes her game up a notch when the Liberty win – averaging 20 points , 4.0 assists , 2.3 steals for New York who sit 7W-8L.
Breaking Canadian WNBA Scoring Records
2019 WNBA-All-Star Game
NCAA March Madness Co-Host
Nurse has quickly become the face of women’s basketball in Canada and was featured across Canada during the 2019 NCAA March Madness coverage, providing in-depth analysis and commentary on her path to NCAA success and WNBA stardom.
Increase WNBA coverage across Canada
Up to now, it was nearly impossible to find a WNBA game across Canadian sports stations. So bad, has the coverage been, that it actually reminded me of the early Raptors days, where finding a basketball was like pulling teeth. With the increase of the popularity of basketball in Canada also comes an increase and demand for more content and the big media players are finally stepping-up and delivering a solid amount of WNBA coverage to satisfy more than the average basketball fans pallete.
2020 Toronto’s WNBA bid
Toronto has and will always be a world class city, blessed with every major sports league calling the six home, expect for a NFL team. The long awaited question, Why doesn’t Toronto have a WNBA franchise? appears to have been answered.
Now we can only wait for the day Nurse is playing for Toronto’s WNBA franchise or maybe running basketball operations.
Sister Act. Ogwumike Siblings Spark Hollywood Reunion In Los Angeles
It’s a family affair in Hollywood.
‘Mike check, 1…2, 1…2. Chiney Ogwumike has gone from the Connecticut Sun to a Californian one to reunite with Stanford sister Nneka.
And in an instant the Candace Parker Sparks have plugged themselves in to this year’s favourite to be the HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER, ‘Captain Marvel’ of the WNBA.
The Sparks are now illuminated by this former scorching Sun star, her former MVP sister, Candace, Point Goddess Chelsea Gray and hot clutch shooter Alana Beard. And that’s just for starters, before we get to the splinters that will stick in you from the bolstered bench. Or their seventh seal in this year’s draft, the Baylor made star Kalani Brown.
Looks like Laker legend and new coach Derek Fisher-no stranger to the closing seconds of the game himself-has a lot to light up from his sideline fuse.
The Sparks gave up a first round draft pick from next year’s 2020 lottery to get this former number one pick in the 2014 pick of players and it was well worth every spot. Chiney is a star in her prime now, whilst her sister Nneka is a veteran legend. Combine the two of them together on the same squad like their Stanford college alumni days and you have a one, two punch like the Sparks had in the legendary Lisa Leslie days alongside Candace Parker. Except the Los Angeles Sparks still have Parker. One of the best players in the league right now and for all time, giving them an even better big-three and superteam then they’ve ever had in their purple and gold coronation.
This is beautiful for a game that is all about family. From the Grant one to the Lopez twin peaks. Even sons inheriting the skills of their father from Gary Payton II to Tim Hardaway Jnr. To what’s to come from Bol Bol, Shareef O’Neal (let’s make this special and get him drafted to pops Lake Show) and Bronny.
Oh yeah and the Ball boys.
But nothing is quite as special as these sisters doing it for themselves and each other on the Lakers sister squad that now stands as its own in STAPLES like the California clashing Clippers.
After becoming Rookie of the Year, Chiney suffered through knee and Achilles injuries whilst playing in China which stunted her seasons. But in the last one this low post threat, bullied back in the paint with a 14 point average and half of that in rebounds with seven. Expect those stats that would be the perfect compliment to Candace and big sis to only improve anyway. As will the perimeter presence of the likes of All Star point Gray and Beard trimming down those shots from downtown Pico.
Peek at your 2019 WNBA champions. Because the best of the best Skylar Diggings-Smith and Breanna Stewart will join the legendary likes of Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore missing the majority if not in most cases all the forthcoming season. Which is such a shame, even if there is so much more talent on display in this expect great league. But with Storm’s weathered in Seattle and Dallas Wings clipped, these Sparks with the Fish that saved L.A. in charge are showing like in the Michael Cooper days they are more than just a legendary name plugged into their head coaching seat.
The stand for one of the best leagues in the greatest game and it’s next generation starts now.
Watch them make way and lead the charge in their game, their way.
And worthy of a Hollywood story, but a real household one, these sisters are each other keepers.
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