Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pick-And-Role Models

There ends another season of the WNBL. You may have noticed all the publicity surrounding women’s basketball. No? Me either. And the little media attention there was, was focused on all the wrong elements. So welcome to my blog, my attempt to draw attention to points in women’s basketball that, in my opinion, deserve to be noticed.

Women’s basketball in Australia is still in rudimentary stages in terms of their fan base, media coverage and general recognition, and advocates are working hard to promote the sport. I applaud them for their efforts. But Basketball Australia in conjunction with the WNBL, are choosing to draw people to the game by marketing marquee players. A different strategy to that which you might find in the States, but all too familiar across any sport in Australia.

Not to say that it hasn’t been successful. When the world’s best player returned to the League, she drew record crowds to both Home and Away games, and signed autographs for hours after each game. For her part, she acted commendably throughout her time in the League.

But we should not base the success of the sport on the popularity of its players. The teams, League, Organisation and the media are bound to find their drawcards in marketable players. This does not necessarily mean they are players who should be touted as the faces of the game.

There are so many admirable qualities of the WNBL. You would rarely find the inebriated, offensive yahoos who get kicked out of footy games; children are encouraged towards a healthy lifestyle by being involved in sport; and teams are continually giving back to the community by raising money at games for charities. Why not promote these aspects, rather than trying to sell tickets on the back of one player who scores 20-plus points per game, but swears at the referees each time a call goes against her?

The future of Australian women’s basketball needs, not marquee players, but Role Models. Players who conduct themselves like champions both on and off the court. Leaders who will shape the culture of the in the game. Women who the world can look up to. These players are my inspiration.

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