Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Wall Street Journal ran a profile on women basketball players who can dunk. It struck me as odd that America’s leading financial newspaper was rolling out pictures of Maya Moore, but I suppose they can’t be expected to watch our money burn all the time.
There was one comment about the article that sent me searching for an eight-year-old copy of Sports Illustrated. Consider this little gem: "Dunking a women’s sized basketball is almost as easy as dunking a volleyball. Let me know when they work up to a ‘full-sized’ basketball." (Quotation marks are the male writer’s.)
In December 2000, Tennessee’s Michelle Snow dunked during a game. It was the first time it had happened in a game since 1994, so, of course, Sports Illustrated wanted to talk about it. They also asked readers to write in and share their opinions on Snow’s hops.
Here’s a sampling:
Let me just say now what I said the first time I read this article eight years ago: Seriously, what?
In 1984, Georgeann Wells was the first woman to dunk during an NCAA game. At the time, people predicted that that it would cause an immediate explosion of interest in women’s basketball, and would probably even result in a women’s professional league.
Twenty years later, in 2004, Candace Parker won the dunk contest at the McDonald’s High School All-American game. ESPN called it one of those "stunning indelible moments that transcend sport, crumble barriers and create icons."
Kinda dramatic, don’t you think?
I will never understand the controversy or awe surrounding women’s basketball players who can dunk. If you’ve got the ups to make it happen, make it happen. If you don’t, shoot a lay-up. They way people debate it, you’d think the fate of the entire game rested on it.
If that were the case, the Houston Comets wouldn’t have folded yesterday. With Parker, Leslie, Moore, Sylvia Fowles, and the up-and-coming Brittney Griner, there are more dunkers in women’s basketball than ever.
After all the hype, the shot is only worth two points. Besides, everyone knows the thing that really keeps the WNBA alive isn’t dunks: It’s lesbians.