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Layshia Clarendon leads the fight in the war being waged on transgender Americans

Layshia Clarendon leads the fight in the war being waged on transgender Americans

Emerging as a force to be reckoned with against gender identity discrimination, Layshia Clarendon, the WNBA’s first openly trans and non-binary player, has been nominated for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. Yet, in the same breath that we celebrate the joy of gender euphoria for countless people challenging the gender binary, we must band together and fight the intentional harms caused to our transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming siblings. In short, we are at a time where federal and state legislation has waged war against transgender and non-binary Americans. This prompted us to look into where states housing the 12 WNBA teams stand in terms of LGBTQ protections and anti-trans legislation. ...

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The Hard Screen Newsletter | May 2021

The Hard Screen Newsletter | May 2021

SEIMONE AUGUSTUS DESERVED TO RETIRE A LYNX

Like Lindsey Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson before her, Seimone Augustus was a key figure in helping the Minnesota Lynx win four championships in seven seasons. She deserved to retire in Minnesota, where she built her legacy and helped turn the struggling Lynx franchise into a dynasty. Her retirement press conference was filled with wisdom. And on her way off the basketball court, she showed uncommon selfishness toward younger players seeking to become one of the 144 lucky women to claim a roster spot in the WNBA. But the biggest question looms: Which superstars get to retire where they built their legacies and which do not?

“Minnesota knows that they have a piece of my heart,” Seimone Augustus said, a tapestry featuring the logo of the Los Angeles Sparks undulating gently behind her.

It was late into last week’s retirement press conference when a question by Charles Hallman, a longtime reporter for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, brought her to tears. Six days before, Augustus — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, a four-time champion with the Minnesota Lynx, an eight-time All-Star and top-10 all-time WNBA scorer — announced her retirement, for reasons familiar to any athlete lucky enough to experience career longevity: the body.

To prepare for training camp in her second season in L.A., Augustus worked with a trainer on cardio and conditioning. Asked to run 48 sprints, the Baton Rouge, La. native obliged, but not because it was easy. “My ego got me through the 48 sprints,” Augustus said. “But then when I got to my car, I couldn’t even crank my car because I was just, like, exhausted. I was just, like, so tired. And I was, like, ‘What are you doing?’ And then I constantly had that battle — that day until the day I decided (to retire).”

“As athletes, that’s the amazing thing — we’re able to have our minds command our bodies and have us do amazing things,” she added. “But once my mind could not tell my body to do what I wanted it to do … It really starts to tug on your heartstrings about where you’re at with the game.”

Also in the May 2021 issue:

-A #HardScreen on Curt Miller
-A year in review on social justice

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Tamryn Spruill

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​Tamryn Spruill is an author and freelance journalist covering women’s basketball, with issues of gender, race and sexuality central to her reporting. She has followed the WNBA since its 1996 inception, and she is writing a book about its exciting history through the lens of the passionate, persevering and powerful (80% Black, many LGBTQ+-identifying) women who make the league up (ABRAMS 2022). She is represented by JL Stermer at New Leaf Literary & Media.

Spruill’s bylines include Harper’s BAZAARThe New York TimesSLAMZORATeen VogueThe Athletic and Swish Appeal, where she also has served as editor-in-chief since 2018 when hired as the first woman to hold that position. 

Spruill has appeared in interviews as an expert source for NPR’s All Things Considered, Fox Sports’ First Sports in the Morning, The Julie DiCaro Show on 670 The Score and Bleacher Report.

She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Journalism (University of South Carolina) and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Goddard College).

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The Hard Screen: a podcast about women’s hoops -- a brick wall between the sport you love and the misogynistic nonsense that surrounds it.

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