October 5, 2023
Golden State Warriors ready to share the spotlight with WNBA
'The quality of play has just dramatically improved over the last decade,' Kerr said. I think the timing is great, given the level of interest in the sport and the quality of the women’s game'
The NBA’s Golden State Warriors were in the practice facility when the announcement was made, deep under the court at Chase Center on Thursday, preparing for their first preseason game and presumably another title run with the addition of veteran guard Chris Paul. But the topic of sharing this building with a WNBA team starting in 2025 is one that’s been bouncing off the walls for quite a while.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that he has heard those discussions taking place for “years.” “This is such a basketball hotbed already,” Kerr said. “This place is really going to embrace women’s basketball. So happy that it’s happening.”
Kerr said that he has followed the WNBA more closely over the past couple of years after watching the epic 2018 Western Conference Finals series between the Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury. He has become friends with New York Liberty coach Sandy Brondello and knew Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor from his time coaching with the Phoenix Suns. And former Warriors executive Nick U’Ren is now the new Mercury team President.
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“The quality of play has just dramatically improved over the last decade,” Kerr said. “I think the timing is great given the level of interest in the sport and the quality of the women’s game.”
Steph Curry has been a very visible supporter of the women’s game, from his friendship with East Bay product Sabrina Ionescu to his long family friendship with Stanford star Cameron Brink. Asked whether he might lobby Brink to stay in college for a fifth season and wait to turn pro until 2025, when she could…maybe…be available to the Bay’s new franchise, Curry smiled.
“That wouldn’t be the first time she’s been asked about that,” Curry said. “It is kind of surreal the timing, knowing whether it would be this summer or the summer after that. She will be making that transition to the league. I’ve seen her from the time she was a baby to now, so it’s kind of wild…Her horizon looks pretty solid no matter what, but that would be kind of cool.”
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Speaking of cool, Klay Thompson is ready to rev up his boat to make some extra trips across the bay. He has been a WNBA fan since he grew up in Portland and watched the Fire and their sharpshooter, Jackie Stiles. And when he moved to L.A., he watched Lisa Leslie and the Sparks. And he called Maya Moore “one of the best basketball players I’ve ever seen.” “Now, in my adulthood, I can see some WNBA here. The summer’s just got more fun.”
Written by Michelle Smith
Michelle Smith has covered women's basketball nationally for nearly three decades. Smith has worked for ESPN.com, The Athletic, the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as Pac-12.com and WNBA.com. She was named to the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame in 2015, is the 2017 recipient of the Jake Wade Media Award from the Collegiate Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) and was named the Mel Greenberg Media Award winner by the WBCA in 2019.