Women's Hoops Podcast

Episode 5: Why Black Girls Are Cheering for WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson

When the Las Vegas Aces tip off in Game 1 of the 2020 WNBA Finals, A’ja Wilson–this year’s WNBA Most Valuable Player, a two-time All-Star and the 2018 Rookie of the Year–will be playing for Black girls everywhere, especially those with apostrophes in their names. Rich or poor, tall or short, athlete or non-athlete, Black women and girls have needed something to cheer about this year and Wilson’s success provides. But fans should not underestimate the pressures and demands she faces as an elite basketball player trying to win a championship during pandemic and protest.In late September, the league announced its decision to award the 2020 WNBA Community Assist Award to all players for their work on social justice. Wilson and Sydney Colson of the Chicago Sky, both members of the league’s newly-created Social Justice Council, spoke to select media via Zoom conference about the council’s work and the impact of racial injustice on their lives.Bethany Donaphin, head of W...

Hard Screen Newsletter Issue No. 4

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Courtney Vandersloot in the East, A’ja Wilson in the West 

A'ja Wilson (Western Conference) and Courtney Vandersloot (Eastern Conference) are the WNBA Players of the Week for games played through Sunday, August 9. Wilson's name already is swirling atop MVP conversations. Can Vandersloot now rise from understated workhorse to bona fide star?...

#SayHerName (Part 2): ‘Amplify the names’

 TRIGGER WARNING: THIS EPISODE CONTAINS VIVID DESCRIPTIONS OF POLICE VIOLENCE AND MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL LISTENERS. In this two-part #SayHerName special edition of The Hard Screen, mothers of daughters murdered by police speak on their shattered lives, their partnership with WNBA and demands for change. Joining the conversation are: Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, […]...

THS Extra: Sabrina Ionescu’s Quite Literal Hoop Dreams

One day after No. 1 overall 2020 WNBA Draft pick Sabrina Ionescu dropped 33 points in 34 minutes in her second professional game, Tamryn Spruill spoke with the New York Liberty guard about hoops, opportunities to grow the game and more. In this "extra" from The Hard Screen, a portion of that interview.

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#SayHerName (Part 1): ‘We’re living every day with amputated hearts’

In this two-part #SayHerName special edition of The Hard Screen, mothers of daughters murdered by police speak on their shattered lives, their partnership with WNBA and demands for change. Joining them in conversation are: Sydney Colson, Chicago Sky guard and WNBA Social Justice Council member; Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder and executive director of the African-American […]...

Because Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech Tells Me So

Atlanta Dream co-owner and U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler opposes the WNBA's and the Atlanta Dream's support for Black Lives Matter. Players and the WNBPA have called for her to sell her ownership stake in the team. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert has stated that she will not force Loeffler out as owner, yet maintains support for the players' desire and decision to use the 2020 season as a platform for social justice advocacy. The Hard Screen digs into the founding principles of the Atlanta Dream and how Loeffler's politics jibe with neither the team's nor Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s DREAM.Featuring: Angel McCoughtry, WNBA star and former face of the Atlanta Dream franchise ...

Hard Screen Newsletter Issue No. 2

In this issue of The Hard Screen Newsletter: It’s Time (for Media) to Think Bigger, Hiring Black Women Journalists Serves the Public Interest, Podcast Bonus: Layshia Clarendon needs a megaphone....

BONUS: Layshia Clarendon needs a megaphone

In June 2019, I had the pleasure of speaking with Layshia Clarendon, WNBA guard and first vice president of the players’ association, for an article I was writing on the WNBA’s struggles to gain mainstream traction. After reading her essay this past week in The Players’ Tribune and watching her in conversation with Untamed author Glennon Doyle, I returned to that interview from 2019. Sadly, from relistening, I learned that the more things change in society the more they stay the same.In addition to discussing the ways the league failed its players (her words) on marketing, Layshia and I in 2019 discussed the Pulse nightclub shooting, the Emmanuel AME church shooting—both hate-based massacres of marginalized groups that also reflect the overall scourge of this nation’s gun violence problem. Listening now, with society in worse shape than it was one year ago, I can’t help wondering where we’d be if Clarendon had a megaphone for a platform that made her visible 12 months...

Hard Screen Newsletter Issue No. 1

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Hard Screen Newsletter! Issue No. 1 includes:  Welcome!, “Why America Doesn’t Deserve Sports Right Now”, A Personal Note, Links + Things....