Lynx forward Maya Moore is a two-time WNBA champion and was last year’s league MVP. In virtually every men’s pro sports league, that would mean her profile is at an all-time high — certainly higher than it was in high school or college.
But in the WNBA, it’s not. Moore writes for The Players’ Tribune about the feeling of being far less visible now that she is at the pinnacle of her pro career. It’s worth a read. Here’s a snippet:
After four years and two national championships, I went No. 1 in the 2011 WNBA Draft. That’s when I felt the drop.
There’s this unnatural break in exposure for the highest level of women’s basketball in the world. Wait, what happened here? That’s a question we as WNBA players ask ourselves. We go from amazing AAU experiences to high school All-American games to the excitement and significant platform of the collegiate level to … this. All of that visibility to … this. Less coverage. Empty seats. Fewer eyeballs. In college, your coaches tell you to stay focused on your team and the game — not the media attention. But you know you’re on national television. You know people are following you. You can feel the excitement. And then as a professional, all of that momentum, all of that passion, all of that support — the ball of momentum is deflating before my eyes.
It’s frustrating on several levels. We professional female athletes are continuing to grow and evolve, and trying to make an impact on our communities and other young lives — all of those things we maybe didn’t have time for as student-athletes. And now, there are fewer eyeballs to even inspire or influence because the exposure to the players and our game isn’t as great. It’s hard. Somewhere up the chain of command — in companies that, in many ways, dictate what is “cool” — people are making choices not to celebrate the WNBA and its players. We have a great deal with ESPN — they renewed our contract to televise a certain amount of WNBA games, which is great. It’s a huge reason of why we’re going to continue being successful as a league. But engaged and invested cultural influencers and partners in corporate America are crucial in elevating the profile of the WNBA. We have a product worth celebrating.
For a second straight year, the Vikings have used one of their top picks on a linebacker from UCLA.
With the 45th pick in the draft, the Vikings selected UCLA inside linebacker Eric Kendricks. He is a former teammate of outside linebacker Anthony Barr, the team’s first pick last year.
A three-year starter at UCLA, Kendricks led the Pac-12 with 150 tackles in 2012. He made 106 tackles in 2013 and made 149 in 2014, tops in the country. For that he just won the Butkus Award.
A little on the short side at 6-foot and tipping the scales at 232 pounds, Kendricks makes up for his smaller frame with speed — he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds in Indy — and the ability to cover in space. He could end up being the three-down middle linebacker the Vikings are looking for.
Despite showing great improvement defensively under head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have used their top two picks on defenders after selecting cornerback Trae Waynes in the first round.
The Kendricks pick is the first time the Vikings have selected a player in the second round since General Manager Rick Spielman gained final say in the team’s draft room before the 2012 draft.
The Vikings will be next on the clock tonight at pick No. 76, the 12th selection in the third round.
Phil Hughes delivered the news Twins manager Paul Molitor was hoping for: he's good to go for his next scheduled start Monday. But before that, the Twins go for another win against the White Sox tonight.
Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes was introduced to the media on Friday a day after he was selected in with the 11th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.
And he was eager to start his journey as an NFL cornerback.
“I’m ready to get back to work and get over all this media stuff,” Waynes said.
He flew in this morning from Chicago, where the Michigan State product walked across the draft stage to shake NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand after his name was announced.
“It’s been hectic,” said Waynes of the last 24 hours. “I was anxious and ready to get this process over with but after I got that call, I was finally able to breathe a little bit. Then I realized I was able to start this new journey.”
Waynes said he’s looking forward to being coached by Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who considers himself an expert at coaching defensive backs. Waynes said Zimmer coached him during Michigan State’s pro day.
“He told me earlier him coaching me at pro day was nothing, and he coached me pretty hard,” Waynes said. “I’m really excited to see what type of player he can turn me into and hopefully I can help make an impact on this defense.”
Some other tidbits from Waynes’ presser:
On his aggressive style of play
“Just having that edge, I’ve always enjoyed tackling people and that just got brought out even more when I was at Michigan State but just by the coach. Coach [Harlon] Barnett always emphasized bringing that dog let that other guy out on the field. And we practiced tackling and we hitting drills more than anything else and that’s something they instilled in us.”
On if Waynes, a two-sport athlete in high school, ever consider picking baseball over football
“I thought about it. I never really thought about it seriously until I think my junior year. My baseball coach asked me if I was going to take it serious because he thought I had the potential to potentially get drafted. Football is my passion. This is what I love to do and I got ejected for two games because I ran over the catcher, just out of frustration. So obviously I had to stick with football. This is something I grew up watching and I love playing, so I just had to follow my dream.”
On what it means for the Kenosha, Wisconsin native to stay in the Midwest
“It means a lot. It’s really big just for a family standpoint. They’re going to be able to come to a lot of my games and not have to travel across the country just to see me play. My parents, they’re not really big on flying, so this is only a short drive away.”
On if he was a fan of the Packers growing up