National Women's Basketball League
Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
The national women's basketball association in basketball is a collection of 12 WNBA professional teams who compete against each other for a league championship. The team that wins the championship gets the championship trophy.
The league is currently being commissioned by Cathy Engelbert, who was just hired in 2019.
There are twelve total teams in The WNBA currently. The teams are separated into two conferences, the east and the west. They compete in a 34 game regular season, ending with eight teams making the playoffs, four from each conference.
New York Liberty
Las Vegas Aces
Los Angeles Sparks
The WNBA first launched in 1997, and was backed by men's professional basketball league, The NBA. Since then, the league has seen many changes involving structure, management, and its teams. There have been five presidents/commissioners since the creation of the league as well as four teams added to the original eight.
WNBA Notable Players
A former guard for the Phoenix Mercury, was drafted number 1 overall out of Connecticut.
The current center for the Phoenix Mercury, is well known for her dunking ability.
Elena Della Donne
Della Donne is a member of the Washington Mystics, where she plays power forward.
Leslie is an original member of the league. She played 12 seasons for The Los Angeles Sparks as the center.
Hammon is well known for her being hired as an assistant coach for The Spurs, making her the first woman coach in The NBA. She played in The WNBA as a guard for both The New York Liberty and The San Antonio Stars.
Whalen just retired in 2018 after 15 years as the point guard for The Minnesota Lynx and The Connecticut Sun.
Parker is a forward for the Los Angeles Sparks. She is a two time MVP as well as a former Finals MVP winner.
Catchings was a forward who played her entire career with the Indiana Fever. She was a 12 time all-WNBA player as well as 12 time all-defensive player.
WNBA Present Day
The league is thriving today, including just recently signing a new tv deal with CBS to have the games aired on CBS Sports Network. The talent in women's basketball is at an all time high, as the emphasis shifts towards encouraging young women to go for their dreams as basketball players. The current slogan of the league "Watch Me Work" reflects the movement of normalizing women's athletics to the public's perception.
The History of the NWBL
The National Women's Basketball League was created and organized to be a premier amateur women's league in the United States. After its founding in 1997, the four original teams competed in a tournament style playoff bracket as the only games for the first 3 seasons. These teams included the San Diego Waves, Columbus Lady Blazers, Washington DC Defenders, and Long Beach Lightning. The league grew to include many teams across the country before the league transitioned into a professional organization. Starting in 2001 the league was turned into the NWBL Professional League dropping its amateur status. It lasted until 2007, or 7 seasons until it folded making its entire existence last 10 seasons.
The Professional Teams of the NWBL
The original teams in the professional iteration of the NWBL included the Atlanta Justice, Birmingham Power, Mobile Majesty, and Kansas City Legacy. By the end of the league in 2007 only the Birmingham Power remained as a franchise while expansion teams made up the other 5 teams. They included the Chicago Blaze, Colorado Chill, Houston Stealth, Springfield Spirit, and Tennessee Fury. The Houston Stealth and Colorado Chill tied with 2 NWBL Pro Cups titles for the most championships by a singular team.
Famous Alumni of the NWBL
Even though the league itself only lasted 10 seasons and 7 as a professional league they had a quality resume of star level players. They include Becky Hammon, current Spurs assistant coach, WNBA all-stars Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings as well as WNBA hall of famer Sheryl Swoopes. These players were leaders of the league during its short span of time in existence.