Damian Lillard has always been open to speaking his mind on different issues related to basketball or even some other social topics. While watching a WNBA game with fellow NBA star and California native DeMar DeRozan, the Portland Trail Blazers star took the opportunity to speak up for the less-recognized players.
Lillard is siding with the women of the WNBA in the belief that they deserve to make more money as professional athletes. The First team All-NBA guard made his statements during an interview after watching the Las Vegas Aces defeat the Connecticut Suns in a nail-biting 90-94 final score.
“They deserve a lot more respect. They deserve to make a lot more money than they do.
“I think it’s time people start recognizing that they are professional athletes, and they should be treated like it. And their league should be elevated and treated that way as well.”
He went on to make the point that WNBA players are frequently not seen or treated as professional athletes, which is unfair considering their work ethic, skill level, and athleticism.
Demar DeRozan, who was also in attendance spoke to reporters after the game giving the same sentiments as Lillard. “I think they deserve way more recognition than they’re getting… the excitement, the way they play, the skill level that they go out there and the display is awesome,” DeRozan said.
According to Paulana Lamonier of Forbes, the average WNBA player is only making about one-fifth of a minimum NBA salary, a glaring gap between the two wages that is impossible to ignore.
WNBA salaries cap at about $110,000, a frighteningly small fraction of the average salary NBA players makes in one season. In 2016, the average NBA athlete stood to make $6.4 million.