Most WNBA players spend their winter playing basketball in Europe, why would they do that? Because there is more money involved overseas, than there is here in the United States.
Diana Taurasi, a Phoenix Mercury star and three time WNBA champion, bucked that trend in 2015 when playing full-time over in Russia paid her significantly more than the WNBA ever did.
Taurasi agreed to an interview with ESPN to discuss this matter out in the open. The 37 year old that lead University of Connecticut to three national championship appearances, did not hold back.
Taurasi expressed with anger, “We had to go to a communist country to get paid like capitalist, which is so backward to everything that was in the history books in the sixth grade. And even then, even within our pay scale, it doesn’t make sense. On a team, you could have seven players making the same amount of money. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
The highest paid WNBA player salary is $117,500, and that was just increased by $4,000 from last year, while the minimum NBA salary is close to $900,000. The difference in pay between the WNBA and NBA is nowhere near being the same. The WNBA is losing the top players from America because they could get what they are worth by going to play in a different country.
“Something’s missing. I don’t know. I don’t know what the solution is. But what’s going on now, it’s not working. And I use an example of when (Mercury center Brittney Griner) was a rookie, she was walking in the arena, and the janitor was making more money than her. But you want Brittney Griner to be this superstar and carry the league into where? The kid’s got to go to Russia for the next 10 years to get paid what she deserves.”
This issue has gotten folks on Capitol Hill talking. Senator Jacky Rosen is calling for a Committee hearing, to discuss the significant issue of pay disparity between men and women athletes in the United States.
In a letter to Commerce Committee chair, she along with 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, use the women World Cup as an opportunity for the committee to recognize the importance of protecting and empowering athletes, while also looking closely at pay disparities that have been brought to the committee’s attention.