The WNBA stands for the Women’s National Basketball Association and is an organization governing the professional basketball league for women in the United States. The WNBA was founded in 1996 to serve as the counterpart to the NBA. The league started play in the year 1997 with its regular season being played from June to September and its playoffs starting in mid-September to October.
The WNBA is not the first major women’s professional basketball league in the United States but it is the first to receive full backing of the NBA. Its logo, the “Logo Woman”, paralleled that of the NBA logo.
The WNBA was officially approved by the NBA Board of Governors on April 24, 1996 and was announced at a press conference in the presence of Rebecca Lobo, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes.
Many WNBA teams have NBA counterparts and even share the same arena. However, there are some WNBA teams that are independently owned or those who do not share the city with an NBA team. Examples include Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm, Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury and Washington Mystics. Independent ownership is a significant factor in the WNBA as it promotes the growth of the league.
The beginning of the WNBA was marked as the Comets Dynasty as the Houston Comets dominated this era for being the first team to win in the WNBA Championship game. The team’s MVP was Cynthia Cooper. The victory of the Houston Comets brought forth with it a series of growth and development to the league. The Houston Comets became the first WNBA team to be invited to the White House Rose Garden and this signified an important move as only NBA teams were invited to the White House.
When the WNBA was founded in 1997, it started out with eight teams. Through a series of expansions, contractions and relocations, the WNBA teams now consist of 13 teams.