The USA women’s basketball team hasn’t lost a match for a long time. They have won 44 consecutive Olympic games and in spite of that they do not get the respect they deserve. Are people tired of watching their country win? How do you explain this attitude of the Americans towards their country? Does the team need to lose in order to get the respect they deserve? Is a defeat the need of the hour for them?
The USA men’s team is full of stars, and also, appropriately, full of itself. You have to be. You have to see yourself as invincible to be invincible. It seems absurd to think that this Dream Team’s caliber can be one-upped.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – consistency insulates you to greatness. When you play a video game in God mode, the challenge goes out of the window. The USA women’s team has won 44 straight Olympic games and the media attention which they are getting is a tithe of what they deserve or would have gotten otherwise.
Last season the San Antonio Spurs went on a historic winning streak, of 22 consecutive games. They took the entire basketball community in USA by storm. There were raves about this anomaly of consistency which coach Popovic and Co were able to pull together. It brought to light the difficulties of having to travel and at the same time win so many away games, back-to-back games, etc. So having a 20-something win streak is something to be proud of.
Apparently not. Not if you ask Cadance Parker, Maya Moore and Co. Heard of them? They are part of the USA women’s team which has won 44 straight Olympic games.
Here’s a title of the kind of articles being written about them:
America’s most dominant team? Women’s basketball, even as the country ignores it
Try this right away, open a new tab or if you’re still using Internet Explorer upgrade to Chrome or Firefox and open a new tab. Go to Google. Type this:
“win streak usa basketball Olympics”
The first page of results today does not even mention the men’s team. It’s all about the women’s team. Yet they aren’t getting the respect they deserve.
“Road to Respect.” That’s the slogan put on t-shirts placed in the women’s team lockers.
“I thought, ‘You know what, that’s kinda dumb, we have one slogan: Earn the respect of your teammates, coaching staff and opponent. Other than that, I could not care less if anyone else respects what we do.”- USA coach Geno Auriemma.
There are a couple of possible issues to address here to understand why the accomplishments of the women’s basketball team are being overlooked.
- The USA women’s basketball isn’t getting the respect it deserves because they are being overshadowed by the men’s team.
- No respect since they are expected to win all the time and their opponents just roll over for them.
- Or the third, main reason I’m about to highlight, perspective error.
The casual NBA fan may go “It’s the women’s team! The men’s team deserves more respect, since they dunk all over the opposition.” But it’s a little deeper than that.
There’s a wide disparity in the income levels of an NBA and a WNBA player. In the NBA, the league minimum is about half a million dollars. In contrast, the WNBA maximum salary for a veteran player in 2010 is $101,000, one fifth of the NBA league minimum.
Okay, that part I have no objection to. League salaries depend directly on the revenue earned. The NBA adjusts the salary cap every year based on the revenue generated in the previous year. Revenue is generated primarily through broadcast rights, ticket and merchandise sales. The point being that the more popular a league is, the more money will it make. The NBA is way more popular than WNBA. The NBA players earn more money for their league. So they get paid more. It has nothing to do with gender discrimination, unless you count the fact that people choose not to watch the WNBA over the NBA as evidence of gender discrimination.
The issue here is that people are taking their perception of WNBA, how it’s an inferior brand to the NBA, and then fostering that perception on the USA women’s team. And that is just ridiculous.
It’s safe to say that the women’s basketball team is the official ‘dream team’.