Thursday, May 23, 2019

"The WNBA’s male practice squads lose to women all the time — and enjoy it"

The laid-back atmosphere belies just how surprising the scene might be to anyone who hasn’t played basketball at a high level: a gym of men competing for the opportunity to be beaten by WNBA players, for free. Registration for the tryout cost $20, and came with lunch and a ticket voucher. If they make the squad, they get a pair of shoes.

“I’d rather be here playing against the girls than out on a court at a park or something,” explains Wes Murphy, a 28-year-old native of nearby Norwich who’s been on the squad since he was in college. “They know the game of basketball better — so many guys just get up and down the floor, throw shots up and have no idea what they’re doing.”


In 2007, the NCAA nearly forbade women’s teams from creating male practice squads on the grounds that they took away opportunities for women athletes. But ultimately the coaches and players won out, believing that the best way to try to close basketball’s gender gap is, in a sense, to ignore it.
First female coach in Bucks organization making the most of "surreal" opportunity

“Don’t throw up on the court. Giannis is right there. That would not look good.”

That was all Sidney Dobner could think as she stood on a Bucks practice court, working out players, including the Bucks’ all-world forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Less than a week prior, the Newbury Park, Cal., native had seven ulcers removed from her stomach. But Dobner wasn’t about to let that get in the way of her once-in-a-lifetime job interview.