Oops, I Thought I Saw Michael Jordan

Dateline: 08/13/97
Click for Team Ratings

It has to be a bit unsettling for the WNBA that the stars they promoted to begin the league -- Rebecca Lobo, Lisa Leslie, and Sheryl Swoopes -- have not played like stars.

On the other hand, people now know the names Cynthia Cooper, Ruthie Bolton-Holifield, Sophia Witherspoon, and Teresa Weatherspoon, all of whom have played quite well without preseason hype.

Scoring Poss. Floor Rating Points

Poss. Pct. Prod.
Leslie (LAS)
180 397 0.454 88.3 351
Lobo (NYL)
126 320 0.393 78.9 253
Swoopes (HOU)
8 13 0.598 139.0 18
Stinson (CHA)
167 348 0.481 100.0 348
Cooper (HOU)
230 434 0.531 119.0 517
Witherspoon (NYL)
139 307 0.453 98.3 302
Weatherspoon (NYL)
92 213 0.432 85.3 181
Bolton-Holifield (SAC)
157 321 0.488 113.5 364

The understudies are stealing the show, but they aren't making the dough.

This, as I look at the ABL and the WNBA, may be the biggest deficiency of the WNBA. Lobo-Leslie-Swoopes all signed contracts much larger than is allowed to be given to the other players in the league, but it is those other players who are the stars of the league. You have to wonder what Cynthia Cooper -- who is easily the league's MVP at this point -- is thinking when she is outplaying players making five times as much as she is. And the WNBA has capped her salary.

Hello ABL!

The ABL pays its players what they demand talentwise. Now that the WNBA has packaged Cooper so well, the ABL can try to sign her and have a marketable and legitimate star.