Saturday, May 9, 2009
Hi! Let's say that you're involved in some sort of tedious internet argument. Suppose you want to try to fool other people into thinking that you're some sort of expert on the WNBA. Perhaps, you're claiming to be a WNBA ex-beat writer ("It was my years of experience as a WNBA beat writer that convinced me that women's basketball sucked.") However, when push comes to shove it proves that your knowledge of the WNBA sucks as much as you think women's basketball sucks. So how can you convince people that you are fully fluent with the league's successes and failures?
Well, you need search no further. We aim to please at Pleasant Dreams and will give you just enough information to pass yourself off as a WNBA expert, either on the internet or when you're arguing with your friends at the bar over who has to buy the next round of nachos.
1. Shorter season. The season is only 34 games long. An NBA season is over twice as long. If you include the playoffs an NBA season might be three times as long. (Rumor has it that the 2005 NBA Championship still isn't over yet.)
2. Shorter game. A WNBA game is only 40 minutes long. Before you decry the WNBA's low scoring, don't get caught in the trap lest someone reminds you that WNBA's games are over earlier. (One rejoinder that might save you in an argument is "Yes! And Thank God!" Your opponent might even forget your faux pas if you can find someone else to high-five.)
You get bonus points if you remember that the games were two 20-minute halves until 2005.
3. Same dimensions. The court is the same size. The players have uniforms and everything. The only differences are in the 3-point arc (which is closer) and the ball (which is one inch in diameter smaller).
4. Important teams to know. Any dumbass can say "Los Angeles" and "New York". Every professional league worth its salt can mention teams in Los Angeles and New York. The absolute minimum number of teams you need to know:
New York Liberty: The team in New York. It plays in Madison Square Garden.
Los Angeles Sparks: The team in Los Angeles. It plays in the Staples Center.
Detroit Shock: Three-time WNBA champions. Current defending champions. They have Bill Laimbeer as their head coach.
Houston Comets: Won the first four WNBA championships. Now defunct. You can always use this in your arguments. Don't let anyone mention the Chicago Stags or the Baltimore Bullets, teams that won championships in the early years of men's pro basketball that went under. (Shouting "Look! a bear!" is a good diversionary tactic.)
5. Important players to know. Let's give you one per current team.
Atlanta Dream: Chamique Holdsclaw. On the other hand, you might not be able to pronounce this. Skip that one.
Chicago Sky: Sylvia Fowles. "Big Syl". 6'6" tall, which is damned tall in the WNBA and under average height (6'7") in the NBA.
Connecticut Sun: Lindsay Whalen. Talk about how a high school player could pass the ball better than her. Ignore the women laughing behind you.
Detroit Shock: You just need to know Bill Laimbeer, the coach. Call him "Trader Bill" from his history of trades that inevitably leave the Shock better and the other team worse.
Indiana Fever: Yolanda Griffith, a recently acquired veteran, is more famous than anyone else on the roster. If you can remember that she played in the ABL, bonus points. (Don't expect anyone to ask what the ABL was.)
Los Angeles Sparks: Many good choices. Go with Candace Parker, and you can talk about the WNBA's weak dunks. Also, she was on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. Your friends read, right?
Minnesota Lynx: Seimone Augustus. Pronounced "See-Moan" and not "Simon-ee". Like Chamique, this one might be one to avoid.
New York Liberty: Janel McCarville, for all the jokes about WNBA players being lesbians. Make sure, however, that Janel is not standing behind you. She can beat you up. I'm serious. No, really, I'm serious. I'd just start running, and I'd thank Jesus that it wasn't Latasha Byears.
Phoenix Mercury: Diana Taurasi. (Just call her "Dee".) You can joke about her being the WNBA player that guy played in that hilarious "WNBA Live 09" YouTube Video. Furthermore, the video actually has Diana Taurasi's seal of approval - no joke. Dee said on Yardbarker that the guy playing her was a good fit, because his tits were at least as big as hers.
Sacramento Monarchs: Just go with Courtney Paris. You know, the girl who said she'd give her scholarship back if Oklahoma didn't win the championship? You can joke about how manly-looking WNBA players are.
San Antonio Silver Stars: Becky Hammon, the woman who joined the Russian Olympic Team when she couldn't make the US Team. Although you shouldn't argue that Hammon is a traitor to the country, or they'll accuse you of secretly liking women's basketball to be so concerned.
Seattle Storm: Sue Bird. Do not mention Lauren Jackson under any circumstances, or the strength of your "all WNBA players are ugly dykes" argument will be undermined.
Washington Mystics: Just mention that the Mystics have a banner in the Verizon Center for "Best WNBA Attendance". Even WNBA fans are laughing at that one.
6. Dunks: Only two WNBA players have dunked. Lisa Leslie is the first one. Candace Parker is the second one. Both play for the Sparks. However, the "weak dunks" argument is in effect only until the beginning of the 2013 season, when Brittney Griner will be drafted number one and make dunking a regular phenomenon. Just point out that she looks like a man. (You should always have a good "Juwanna Mann" joke in effect. Trust me, no one has ever heard them before.)
7. League setup: Two conference, Western and Eastern. Six teams in the Western, seven in the Eastern.
8. Overseas play: Since the WNBA doesn't pay much, players have to supplement their income by playing overseas. (Don't bother memorizing a lot of foreign teams. Just sprinkle "Euroleague" and "Eurocup" in the conversation and no one will check.) I would only pull out this tidbit if your credentials are seriously called into question. Else, the argument might be sprung on you that WNBA players are pretty much exhausted having no break time at all, which might partially excuse any deficiencies in play.
9. Apples and oranges: Do not mention that the average height of a WNBA player is 6'0". (If anyone on the Boston Celtics was under 6' he would have driven a stake through his heart.) Simply compare pituitary behemoths to players half a foot smaller with significantly lesser muscle mass, and pray that no body catches on.
10. WNBA Beat Writers: Another warning is that you want to be really careful when you establish your WNBA knowledge credentials. If you call yourself a WNBA beat writer, for God's sake, don't name a newspaper or a city. Only a handful of teams have local papers that provide anything close to a WNBA beat writer. Hell, they don't even send the same Associated Press guy two nights in a row. People will start asking you if you knew the figure skating beat writer or the curling beat writer at your paper and you'll be drowned in laughter.
Either that, or you just graduated from J-school and they sent you to the game as an intern - in which case, before I serve you another beer, Mac, I'm going to need to see some ID.