Breanna Stewart Shows the Toll of Pro Women’s Basketball’s Never-Ending Grind
When Breanna Stewart, the reigning W.N.B.A. most valuable player, was carried off the floor of the Euroleague championship game in Hungary last weekend with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon, her pain was not just her own.
“I love Stewie and was heartbroken to hear about her injury, especially coming off an unbelievable W.N.B.A. season and World Cup,” Elena Delle Donne, the Washington Mystics star and a former league most valuable player, said. “She’s just a great player, competitor and friend. She will be missed this year, but I know she will come back stronger than ever.”
Stewart is not only a beloved player for the Seattle Storm; she is also a prominent symbol of an enduring issue in professional women’s basketball in the United States: Its players’ seasons never end.
A rookie selected in this month’s W.N.B.A. draft will make $41,265 to $53,537 in base salary, and nobody in the league will earn a base salary of as much as $120,000 this coming season.
Because of that, many of the 144 players in the W.N.B.A. maximize their earning window by heading to Europe and Asia, where independent owners, free of salary caps, can offer them lucrative opportunities.
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