Candace Parker was forced to check Shaquille O’Neal once again after the basketball legend suggested the WNBA consider lowering the rim during TNT’s NBA Postgame Show.
“I have a way to make it equal,” Shaq said, endeavoring to mansplain to Parker. “So in beach volleyball, the women’s net is maybe a half-an-inch lower. You think if we lower the rim so y’all can dunk like we dunk that would give y’all more oomph than you already have?”
Parker, a two-time WNBA MVP who can already dunk, was unimpressed.
Parker promised that women basketball players would be dunking soon. “My next child will be drop-step dunking. I promise you,” she said.
Surprisingly, Parker is not the first female basketball star to be asked this question.
In 2018, Nneka Ogwumike, President of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, affirmed that it is “probably one of the most offensive questions you can ask a WNBA player.”
Ogwumike is a WNBA champion, MVP, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star, All-WNBA first team and four-time All-Defensive first team. She is also a World Cup champion and a EuroLeague champion.
“It’s not logical to ask us to do that,” she said at the time. “We’re constantly being compared to men. We have people excelling at a 10-foot rim. And now, you want us to lower the rim so we can continuously be compared, only to still be criticized. Because now, you have someone like me who has done what she’s done — now I have to relearn the game to appease people who don’t want to watch it for what it is.”
Shaq may feel his suggestions are light-hearted, but if he’s genuinely concerned about equality for the WNBA, she should consider focusing his energies on fighting for pay equity.
According to High Post Hoop, WNBA players get paid less than $80,000 averagely in 2019–20, while NBA players earned $7.4 million averagely in the same period.
Here are a few videos of Candace Parker dunking: