Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx dribbles up court in a game Oct. 19.
Though the game might look, act and sound the same, women’s and men’s basketball are still worlds apart, especially after a coach’s recent suggestion of a lower rim for women.
Geno Auriemma, the coach for the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team recently advocated for lowering the rim more than seven inches from its current 10 feet (the same height as the men’s hoop).
But would lowering a rim really squander the complaints made by sports fans, claiming that the game is slow-moving compared to men’s or that it’s unfair to expect women to play on a court designed for taller and stronger men? Would it really change the pace of the game and make it more exciting?
Many arguments surround the fact that women can’t play above the rim, but Candace Parker, Brittney Griner and Maya Moore prove otherwise. Each of these women has been able to dunk a basketball during a regulation game.
At 6 feet, 5 inches with a 28-inch vertical leap, Parker was named Player of the Year by Gatorade and USA TODAY in high school and was the first woman to win the Slam Dunk contest at the McDonald’s High School All-American Game, defeating her competition (mostly male basketball players) with a no-look dunk. She later became the first female to dunk during an NCAA college tournament while playing for the University of Tennessee. And this was all before she joined the big leagues.
Griner — if you want to compare women’s basketball to men’s — is taller than even some of the best males in the league at 6 feet, 8 inches, and has, of course, made a few dunks here and there throughout her career.
Now a forward for the Minnesota Lynx, Moore is on the same road, having won two NCAA titles and more games than any other player in college basketball history. Oh, and she can dunk, too.
So, do any of these women need a lowered rim?
As a woman who played basketball for more than 13 years, I see no point in lowering a rim. Gender has nothing to do with speed or interest in a game. As a part of a team that was undefeated four years in a row (something the men’s team could never do), our bleachers were never empty, our games were quick and some of our players would give the men a run for their money. The only difference was that we played a different game — we had strategy.
The fault of suggesting a lowered rim is the continuing effort to compare women’s sports to men’s. Women play a different game on the court than men, who insist on flying over it.
The game of basketball for women has no room for dunking, not because women can’t, but because women’s sports are not about the flash and rather the thought behind it. A lowered rim won’t change the pace of the game or fans’ willingness to go see it — no matter what league you’re in.