WNBA Star A’Ja Wilson Criticizes Pay Gap After LeBron’s $154M Signing
Following the announcement that NBA phenom LeBron James signed a $154 million/4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, WNBA rookie A’ja Wilson took to Twitter on Sunday (July 1), to advocate for better pay for women in professional sports.
Wilson tweeted, “154M ……….. must. be. Nice. We over here looking for a M but Lord, let me get back in my lane.” The message was accompanied by a GIF of a woman closing a door and walking away.
The current rookie of the month added that she loves James and doesn’t want to take anything away from his talent. However, when detractors tried to say women were paid less due to their lack of ability, she brought up how bench players in the NBA make more than WNBA players. “Ohh it’s about skill set? [Pondering emoji] because I heard a bench player gets paid more than …nvm,” she wrote.
Wilson also asked if she dunked would she be paid more. “Oh let me guess if she would have dunked thennnnnnn she should would be able to get a M..?”, she questioned a fan on Twitter.
The Aces’ power forward, also compared the payout based on revenue, saying WNBA players get less than 30 percent, whereas NBA players earn 50 percent. According to Forbes, the NBA generated $7.4 billion in 2017 in comparison to the WNBA’s $25 million. However, the starting salary for the women’s league is $50,000, whereas the minimum salary for a professional NBA player is $582,180.
Wilson’s Aces’ teammate, Kayla McBride joined the conversation saying anyone who doesn’t play in the WNBA shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. “We deserve more. Period. If you don’t like it. Or watch it. Or whatever. Stay in your lane homie because you not out here hoopin every night,” she wrote.
Skylar Diggns-Smith who plays for the Dallas Wings supported Wilson’s critique writing, “a little bit louder now!!”
Wilson reinforced her comments on Tuesday following practice. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she believes women, in general, are underpaid. “I wasn’t even talking about just in sports. I think it’s across the board. Women are underpaid.”
Wilson asserted the idea that women work just as hard as men, yet there is no concrete reason they are paid just a fraction for their work. “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. 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.”