UPDATE: The Washington Mystics issued a press release on Friday afternoon, citing why they they couldn’t have a championship parade in October. Here’s General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault’s explanation in a statement.
“We really wanted to show the proper appreciation and recognition to our players for all of their hard work and our fans for their dedication throughout the season. “Many of our players have commitments to play internationally and some, including Emma [Meesseman], will have to leave town as early as tomorrow. Today is an exciting and historic day for the Mystics family and we wanted to celebrate as a team with our fans prior to everyone heading in different directions for the offseason.”
There is something important to realize here when you notice that players like Meesseman are leaving for their overseas teams on Saturday. It’s that these power teams in Russia, Turkey or China often are the “true basketball superpowers” because they pay much better than the WNBA. That just stresses the need for the WNBA to offer better pay to superstars, and that this league isn’t the most influential in women’s professional basketball.
The original post is below.
On Friday, Washington Mystics President and Managing Partner Sheila Johnson announced that the team will have a championship parade in D.C. in Spring 2020. A date has not yet been determined. The announcement was made during the team’s championship celebration gathering that afternoon.
update: the Mystics do plan to have a parade – just not right now. Mystics's Sheila Johnson said at today's event that they have plans for a parade in the spring. https://t.co/JSaB4QsBMR— mads but i'm a ghost (@madsruns) October 11, 2019
This is good news overall. A championship team deserves a celebration.
However, waiting until Spring 2020 is a bit too long for three reasons.
First, it will be very difficult to arrange for the 2019 team to get together BEFORE the 2020 season. It’s unlikely that some players will be able to attend because of international basketball commitments.
I know I keep getting heat for mentioning her name or speculating, but WNBA FINALS MVP EMMA MEESSEMAN is someone who may not make the parade. She will be out until next April with UMMC Ekaterinburg if they make the Russian PBL Finals. Fortunately, the Olympic qualifying tournament is from Feb. 2-10 so she won’t miss games for the Belgium women’s national basketball team unless they make the Olympics.
Second, the WNBPA players union and the WNBA are going to have some serious talks about the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. The players want better pay, better travel arrangements and more opportunities to market themselves. Also, perhaps the WNBA may look into making the schedule a bit more accommodating to non-American players like Meesseman among others.
If the players union and the WNBA don’t reach a deal in time, there could be a work stoppage, whether it’s the players striking or the owners locking the players out. If there is a work stoppage, that could affect whether a parade happens at all. I’ll just leave it there for now.
I can go on into the nitty gritty details, but it’s the least pleasant reason I wanted to talk about.
Finally, the third reason why a championship parade in the spring would be too late is because ... casual fans aren’t going to be as enthusiastic about the parade half a year after the championship. So, will it truly be as memorable, especially if not everyone can come back for it?
Either way, I’m happy the Mystics will get the parade they rightfully deserve. However, I’m also disappointed that this championship celebration is cut short due to the international basketball calendar.