Pretty in any color: women in basketball make style rules


WNBA players, with a maximum base salary of around $230,000, earn significantly less than their millionaire NBA counterparts, which makes marketing dollars even more important. The WNBA has a pool of $1 million that it must spend on player marketing deals, and each team must spend between $50,000 and $100,000 a year on player marketing deals. Any unspent amount is carried over to the next season in addition to the minimum.

The league said it selects players to participate in marketing efforts based on a variety of factors: performance on the field, an established personal brand with an active fanbase, and willingness to travel and attend league events. league.

“Ideas about the body manifest most explicitly about the bodies of athletes — ideas that are harmful and also ideas that are positive,” Jackson said. “That’s another way it can be a space for conflict and a space for evil too, depending on how these ideas are packaged and sold.”

Tiffany Mitchell likes to feel the swing of her ponytail as she runs down the court.

Mitchell, who is black, has often worn her hair in long, braided styles past her waist since playing in South Carolina from 2012 to 2016. This type of protective hairstyle allows her to go longer between restylings and can avoid breakage during the season grind with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

Those swinging braids became a problem during the WNBA’s off-season in December when she competed with the Melbourne Boomers, a professional women’s team in Australia. Basketball Australia, the sport’s governing body, said players in the league had to tie their hair back, mistakenly attributing the policy to a FIBA ​​rule that was no longer in effect. Mitchell, one of three black players on the Boomers roster, felt targeted, since she had never had to change her hairstyle for other international competitions. Basketball Australia later apologized and reversed what it said was a “discriminatory” policy.

“They have no idea what a black woman goes through, let alone an athlete,” Mitchell said. “So I think bringing it to their attention has called for ignorance because there have been players in this league who have had braids before me, and it’s never been an issue.”


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