While the European seasons are about to come to an end the preparations for the WNBA are in full swing. There is a new team, the Atlanta Dream, that needs new players. The top stars of the WNBA (Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, Becky Hammon and Diana Taurasi) all played in – yes you are right – Russia. This is where the money is – even for girls basketball.
The average men’s basketball guy probably doesn’t care about women’s basketball at and doesn’t expect the girls to make a lot of money. Especially when WNBA agents like Bruce Levy says: “There’s not enough money to attract sleazy people”.
Agents – doesn’t that make you listen up? Aren’t these people the most mythical people in the whole basketball business? They are so interesting that even NBA blogger genius Henry Abbott of ESPN started a web site to track these people.
But professional male athletes are all out of our league – who can really just imagine to make 10 million a year? Well, the basketball girls don’t but you would wonder how much they still make.
As you might think, the most money is made in the WNBA since it is the best league in the world, right? The minimum salary is $31,000 and the maximum is $87,000, where the agents make about 5% which is about $2,500. Not that much for an agent who probably also could be a lawyer and make that much in a week.
That is probably the reason why most of the girls also come to Europe when the WNBA is in its off-season. Earning some Euros – well what does “some” mean? Now for the non-millionaires – hold tight to your seat when you hear the figures. The average salary for an American players with NO WNBA experience in the top leagues (Spain, Italy, France, Russia) is about 5,000-6,000 EUR a month.
What about the WNBA girls? Of course being part of a WNBA team doesn’t increase your value for sure but we are talking about 10,000 EUR a month. If you are lucky to be picked up in Russia it will probably only start with 10,000 EUR. To give you a few facts – The EuroCup team of Taranto, Italy carries three WNBA players from the Sacramento Monarchs – Linda Froehlich, Yolanda Griffith and Rebecca Brunson.
I am sure most of the people that read this article don’t know these girls but after I tell you Rebecca Brunson’s salary per month in Taranto you will remember that name: 30,000 EUR a month – tax free, directly into her bank account per wire transfer. Of course – Rebecca is leading the Italian league in points and rebounds.
So if you should stumble upon wnba’s web site and read “European Vacations” as a headline for what is going on with the WNBA players in Europe – think about those 30,000 EUR made during “vacation” and about that “poor” agent who probably makes about 15,000 EUR for a phone call.