Damian Lillard has been making waves as he speaks about pay inequality between NBA and WNBA players.
Damian Lillard has been in some headlines recently as the soap opera that is the NBA offseason begins to unfold. In the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers signing Lebron James and right on the heels of the back-to-back NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, signing DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard, the Portland Trailblazers guard, has been in trade rumors.
More recently, the all-star guard spoke out about something outside of the NBA and his own career. Damian Lillard has taken up the mantle to speak out about what he considers (and many others) to be an infraction and injustice — players in the WNBA should be treated as the professionals that they are, and consequently, be paid more.
Lillard is not one to shy away from topic points or to mince words, known to be an opinionated and vocal person. While being interviewed at a WNBA game with friend and basketball player, DeMar DeRozan, took the opportunity to speak about the female players.
“[WNBA players] deserve a lot more respect. They deserve to make a lot more money than they do,” he says in an interview with Clutch Points.
This is a point of contention that has been brought up before. As recently as 2018, in a report, Angel McCoughtry vocalized how she was tired of not being paid like the men. Going abroad to play during the WNBA offseason is a commonality for many of the women players. Overseas, there’s more respect and more money. McCoughtry even sat out the 2017 WNBA season but did play abroad. Other players like Diana Taurasi have done the same.
There is a disparaging chasm that exists between the NBA players and the WNBA players that is not just found in the totality of the different leagues, but in how the two genders are received, approached, and valued. It is impossible to dismiss that a lot of the money that the NBA players make comes from the large NBA attendance, merchandising, and even TV deals. Unfortunately, the WNBA hasn’t been able to reach those same heights to garner the congruence of respect and revenue, equaling higher wages for the WNBA players. To this, Damian Lillard has spoken out and ultimately becomes an advocate. However, the Trailblazers’ point guard isn’t just speaking out to the league that compensates the women players, but to the compilation of institutions and even the basketball and sports fanbase that reluctantly holds back professional players from excelling and moving forward as the stars that they should and could be just because they are women.