So Marion Jones wants to play in the WNBA. A few people have asked what I thought about it, so I figured I’d comment.
I’ll admit I was a little offended when I first read about her intentions. To me, it already seems like people don’t give the WNBA the credit it deserves. And then there’s this woman who hasn’t played basketball in 16 years and just up and decides she wants to play in the WNBA, like it’s choosing to go out for the high school team or something. It’s really not that simple. Jobs are limited, and these women work 12 months a year, every year, to be at that level. To take one of their jobs, it’s going to take a little bit more than, “Hmm, I think I’ll play in the WNBA this year.” I hope she realizes that in addition to being high-level athletes like herself, these women are extremely skilled as well. One writer even questioned if Marion Jones could “save the WNBA”. Umm, I think it’s a little-or a lot-early for that kind of talk. She has to make a team first.
Also, her reason for playing isn’t love of the game, but to use it as a platform to get her “don’t use steroids and lie about it” message out there. As someone who played for so long because I did love the game, I don’t like the idea of it being exploited. There are several players that, in addition to loving basketball, use their status to help other causes (one example being Candice Wiggins and her work to help find a cure for HIV/AIDS). But it somehow seems disrespectful to the game and those who love it to use the WNBA as a platform above all else.
That said, obviously Marion Jones is an amazing athlete and competitor, who is no stranger to hard work (steroid use aside, she still had to work her butt off to get where she was). Given her athleticism, if she can translate her ability into tangible basketball skills, then she has a chance. She’s working out with Sandy Bondello and Olaf Lange, two of the best player development coaches in the league, down in San Antonio. If she has the passion for it, there’s no doubt they will have her as ready as possible.
I am all for redemption and second chances, and so my concerns about her playing have nothing to do with her past transgressions. It’s strictly from a basketball purist point of view. Objections considered, I support anyone who has the strength to come back from what she has, and the guts to go after something new. I wish her the best of luck, and if she really does come back, I will for sure be cheering her on.
What do you guys think about it?