WNBA and collegiate women’s basketball has been considered less successful in standards of entertainment for some time based on measurements of respective viewerships, endorsements, and profits by the league. Although both have experienced some increase in viewership in recent years, their popularity in nowhere near that of the NBA or March Madness.
Some have argued UConn’s women’s teams have been too dominant in college basketball, but when they get upset many claim there are not enough dominant blue blood teams. The real problem in both leagues is entertainment value, and what made the NBA popular in the first place.
To be clear this change I am suggesting is obviously not going to even the WNBA and NBA overnight, but I believe it will increase viewership and interest substantially.
Dunks. That is part of what makes the NBA so popular. From the dunk contest to the awesome highlights on Sports Center. That is a huge reason the NBA and college basketball are what they are and what makes people tune in.
In the NBA dunks happen all the time, but in the WNBA Lisa Leslie was the first woman to ever dunk in a game in 2002. Dunks in the WNBA are so much more rare, and are nowhere near as sensational as those in the NBA.
Obviously I am not suggesting women should just become freakishly more athletic. I am suggesting that their rims be lowered to 9 feet instead of 10.
The average height of NBA players if 6 foot 7, the average height of WNBA players is 6 feet. Not to mention there are many men under 6 feet who can dunk, because they are just more athletically capable due to body structure and physiological qualities. That’s why there are different mens’ and womens’ standard at the Olympics for races, throws, or field events.
Considering these points it makes no sense to have the rims at the same height from an entertainment or even logical perspective.
The cons are that women would need to rework their shots, to accommodate for the lower rim, but that is worth short term investment for what will be the long term payout. This would revolutionize women’s basketball and add a new more entertaining dimension.
It is worth it for the early growing pains, as the popularity of women’s basketball would skyrocket. Not to mention shooting percentage may actually increase as a result, increasing scoring.
The NBA’s best team averaged 113.1 points per game while the WNBA had 88.8 points per game. Although NBA games are eight minutes longer, the scoring could definitely see an increase which would be even better for viewership.
This change will make everyone happy from the owners who will be making more money, to the players who will build their brands and make more, and obviously the fans who will be treated to a much more entertaining game.
This is a legitimate suggestion that may be implemented as even NBA players like Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady have advocated for lowering the rim.
Women’s basketball does not have to suffer in rating compared to other sports. To raise the popularity we must lower the rims.