The excitement around women’s basketball in recent years is undeniable. The 2023 NCAA women’s basketball national championship game between LSU and Iowa was one of the best sporting events of the year, and drew massive ratings for ESPN. The 2023 WNBA Finals between two superteams in the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces also generated some of the highest TV ratings in league history. Earlier this week, I got to witness the Caitlin Clark phenomenon in person, which was something adjacent to Beatles-mania for the young girls in attendance.
Interest in women’s hoops is only going to continue trending up with so much great young talent in the game, but the WNBA still has real problems. Teams are often traveling without charter flights, player salaries are still extremely low, and the marketing of the league could use a complete overhaul. Women hoopers need more advocates from both the media and men’s players, but unfortunately some men are still stuck in the dark.
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. appeared on The Pivot podcast with Ryan Clark this week, and gave some extremely cringeworthy and inaccurate opinions on the WNBA. Porter Jr. compared women’s basketball players to ping-pong players asking for more money, said he’d watch more women’s basketball if the players dunked more often, and totally missed the point of pay equality in the league.
You can watch the full interview here. Here’s a clip that’s gone viral for how stupid Porter Jr.’s comments are.
Porter Jr. is known for his bad opinions as much as his sweet jump shot, and this one isn’t going to win him any new fans. Why even give him a platform to spew this garbage?
WNBA players are not asking to make the same salaries as their NBA counterparts as Porter seems to be suggesting. Instead, WNBA players are asking for the same percentage of shared revenue that their NBA counterparts get. WNBA players have gone a long time without getting a cut of merchandise sales, for example, while NBA players do. Aces superstar guard Kelsey Plum explained part of what WNBA players are asking for in a 2022 interview:
Here’s a full explainer on how revenue sharing in the WNBA works after the latest CBA. There have been some improvements, but it still isn’t enough.
Porter is getting slammed on social media for referring to women as “females.” His point about wanting women to dunk before he starts watching is maybe his most insulting of all. Stephen Curry hasn’t dunked this season and he’s still pretty exciting. Women’s basketball is great, and it absolutely doesn’t need above-the-rim play to capture the attention it deserves.
Porter Jr. should know better, considering his sisters played the game at a high level. Here’s a small sample of the reaction on social media from MPJ’s comments.
mpj has said so so so many dumb things about so so so many topics that i find it hard to even get riled up about his wnba bullshit. the boy has rocks for a brain.
— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) February 3, 2024
That MPJ interview really has me steaming. From his ignorance to him repeatedly referring to women as “females”.
— Janae Sims (@auntienae95) February 3, 2024
I love how MPJ’s dumb comments coming out the same night a freshman named Juju Watkins has dropped 40 points through three quarters against the 4th ranked Cardinal!
— Chris Williamson (@CWilliamson44) February 3, 2024
MPJ doesn’t understand how insensitive and disrespectful his comments were but once again these men on @thepivot podcast and other’s who fake care make it worse for women! Don’t bring it up if you’re not going to do your research so basically SHUT UP!
— April Sykes (@AP_Slush24) February 3, 2024
I assume @realclark25 asked #MPJ his thoughts on the women’s game bc he wore Stewies shoe, but the lack of understanding when it comes to the inequities/inequality in women’s pro sports is an issue in that convo @thepivot. Looking forward to the follow up bc that WASN’T IT.
— Annie Costabile (@AnnieCostabile) February 3, 2024
As many pointed out, Porter’s comments went viral on the same day USC freshman sensation JuJu Watkins dropped 51 points in a win over top-five Stanford. Women’s basketball is going to continue to soar. Porter Jr. should check his incorrect assumptions and tune in.