WNBA Player A’Ja Wilson Slams Pay Gap with NBA After LeBron James’ $154M Contract

A'Ja Wilson
The Associated Press

Highlighting the huge pay gap between men and women in professional basketball, WNBA rookie A’Ja Wilson slammed the massive payday earned by newly minted L.A. Laker LeBron James.

Wilson took to Twitter on July 1 to say, “154M ……….. must. be. nice. We over here looking for a M but Lord, let me get back in my lane,” according to Ebony magazine.

Perhaps realizing that some may take her tweet as criticism of James, the WNBA star quickly added, “And I love Bron not taking nothing away from him.”

Some Twitter users replied to Wilson’s tweet saying that female players just aren’t as good as male players. Jesse Kelly, for instance, insisted that no one wants to watch women’s basketball.

But, Wilson noted that bench players in the NBA even make more than starting members of the WNBA.

Speaking of revenue, OutKick the Coverage’s Clay Travis pointed out that the two leagues’ earnings are vastly different saying, “WNBA made $25 million in revenue last year. The NBA made $7.4 billion.”

Still, the Las Vegas Aces power forward also pointed out that WNBA players even make far less in payouts based on revenue. WNBA players only get 30 percent compared to NBA players who get 50 percent, she said.

While saying that WNBA players should get the same percentage of revenue as NBA players is a far better argument than saying they should get the same amount of revenue that NBA players receive, even that argument is still problematic. If the WNBA is only generating $25 million, paying their players 50% of that money would likely make owning a team not worthwhile to the millionaires who sign Wilson’s check.

The NBA can afford to pay their players half of their total revenues because their total revenues are over $7 billion. In other words, NBA players can get a bigger slice of the pie because they made a bigger pie. If WNBA players want a bigger slice, they’re going to need a bigger pie. And if they try to eat more without making more, the bakery is going to shut down.

The 2017 NCAA champion and Most Outstanding Player also told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that women are underpaid throughout the sports world. “I wasn’t even talking about just in sports,” she said of her initial tweet. “I think it’s across the board. Women are underpaid.

“We’re out here working just as hard as it is. It’s one of those funky things where you can’t really pinpoint ‘This is what you need to do.’ You can’t say work harder,” Wilson added. “You can’t say dunk. You can’t really pinpoint it. We come into work every day with a great mindset that we’re going to tackle this thing. No matter how much we get paid. We love what we do.”

On the other hand, Christian B. Powe, a black speaker and writer, did not doubt that WNBA players work hard, but it’s the product they are selling that is the problem, not their hard work.

And Alex Griswold wondered why Wilson was dissing those hard working athletes that never turned pro:

Still, Wilson got plenty of support for her comments:

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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