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WNBA should set championship celebration precedent following Kelsey Plum’s criticism

ClutchPoints logo: MainLogo ClutchPoints 12/3/2022 James Kay
Dec. 3, 2022 © Provided by ClutchPoints Dec. 3, 2022

When the WNBA released its schedule for the 2023 season, the Las Vegas Aces weren’t thrilled when they found out they would be starting the year on the road. They had just won the first professional sports championship in the city’s history and thought they would be able to close last year’s chapter with their fans on opening night.

Instead, they will be having their ring ceremony a month into the season and will face the Seattle Storm and Los Angeles Sparks away from Michelob ULTRA Arena.

“Someone looked at this schedule — not saying any names — but someone looked at this schedule and said, ‘How can we screw over the Aces?’” Aces’ all-star guard Kelsey Plum told Yahoo Sports. “Well, they tried. We’ll see if it works.

“Yeah, I think that for me I looked at it, I just smiled, I looked at it as a great challenge, a great opportunity.”

Any time criticism is directed towards the WNBA, it is important to point out the league is just turning 27 years old. The organizational structure that exists in other leagues hasn’t been fully developed in the W yet. A certain patience is needed when discussing these issues.

At the same time, the players deserve better. That doesn’t change no matter how daunting the economic complexities of growing a sports league like the WNBA is. When beginning the process of putting together a schedule for all 12 teams, it should start with a precedent that the reigning champs will be in front of their home fans in the season opener.

It might seem trivial to point out an issue like this when there is a litany of things the WNBA needs to do to grow as a league. However, it is more complex than that. Former champions have not received the same love men’s basketball gets when they win a title. After the 2019 season where they had one of the greatest offensive seasons in league history, the Washington Mystics didn’t get a parade in the city. That is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the team never got their shine.

There could be more complications than the public doesn’t know about when creating a schedule but on the surface, this seems like it could be an easy win for the league to get out ahead of. Any move it does now will look like it is a response to what the Aces have complained about. The league has been in this position before and doesn’t do itself any favors by repeating history over and over again.

After seeing how the NBA bloomed into a global phenomenon and developed resources over time, it’s understandable players and fans are upset when they see what the WNBA can be. Patience is hard to come by because of it. But the league is (hopefully) learning as it goes and it can help itself by simply creating a precedent that the reigning champs should get to play their season opener at home and receive their championship rings the same night.

The post WNBA should set championship celebration precedent following Kelsey Plum’s criticism appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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