One question that somebody on our forum had a while back when
we were talking about the ownership change. If somebody wanted
to buy just the Storm, how much would the team go for? Is
there anyway of figuring that out?
There isnt actually right now. Right now, the franchises
arent valued so to speak. Owners pay an operating fee
to get the license from the league, if you will, to operate
a team. But everything is centralized. Its not run like
a typical professional sports organization. The league owns
the teams. The owners dont actually own the teams. They
pay an operating fee to operate the teams. But it is different,
so there is no asset value, franchise value, if you will,
like youd have for the Sonics. Its structured
financially very different.
So, when the Basketball Club of Seattle bought the Sonics,
they bought the license
They bought the operating rights for the Storm.
Now in a similar vein, with player contracts, the Storm does
not necessarily own the player contracts, the league does.
No we dont whatsoever. We dont negotiate them.
We dont own them. We dont pay them. We dont
fulfill them. We have no involvement whatsoever in player
contracts or player negotiations.
So, when a decision is made to sign or invite a player to
training camp or cut somebody or trade somebody, if you guys
dont actually own the contract, does it have to go through
Yes, it does.
There was an article awhile back that the contract negotiations
are going to start soon and I really dont want to get
into all of that, but do you foresee a time when that arrangement
would change to where the contracts would go to the management
of the teams and not necessarily through the league.
I dont see that happening in the near future. I dont
see it happening in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement
negotiation. Will it happen at some point beyond that? Possibly.
And the most important thing is that the league needs to get
to a point where its financially stable. We look forward
to an opportunity to talk to the players about how we can
address some of their concerns and hopefully reach a compromise
that we can both live with that doesnt compromise the
financial stability of the league.
So, eventually, down the road, will we, maybe I dont
know how long down the road, see some of the kind of mega
contracts that Kevin Garnett or Shaquille ONeal or some
of these guys in the NBA have gotten? Multimillion, multiyear
kind of contracts?
I dont see that happening in the near future. I mean
those contracts are commensurate with the kinds of revenue
that those teams bring in. Itll be a very interesting
discussion. In defense of the players they have never, as
a group, been given financial information about the league.
The league has always been reluctant to share that, but as
they enter into this negotiation, I think it is going to be
very important to the players. Before the players express
their concerns, their priorities, what it is they really want
the league to consider in terms of compensation and supplementing
their current agreement, they really need to understand what
the financial picture looks like. As well as the leagues
long term plan for financial stability. And ultimately, I
think we all remain optimistic that we will reach a compromise.
Im the first one to say that I look forward to the day
that this league is financial successful enough to offer these
women the kinds of salaries so that they dont have to
go overseas to supplement their income.
Just have a couple of questions about the league and then
I have a couple of other to finish off. League President,
Val Ackerman, has said a couple of times that expansion is
not planned for the near future; relocation may occur though,
and weve heard that in San Antonio and Chicago there
are groups that are very interested in acquiring teams. Do
you have any info on if some relocations are planned?
Well, given that the fifth season is not even over yet, I
know that its something thats been talked about
at the league office, but we wont be hearing anything
at the team level until we go back for league meetings in
Well, completely off the question I just asked, but I have
to say that as a pretty diehard WNBA fan, the games in the
playoffs have been amazing.
Yeah, theyve been awesome games.
Ive got a couple of friends that are big time NBA fans
who havent really paid any attention and Ive said
youve got to watch these games and they did and theyve
Yeah, the playoffs have been great.
They have been great. So, we all have our suspicions on whose
going to end up winning the championship and who we dont
want to win the championship. [Karen laughs] Who do you like
I think Sacramento is going to win.
Do you really?
I think if anybodys got a chance to beat the Sparks,
I think Sacramento is playing extremely well right now and
they are getting good bench play. Yolanda has elevated her
game to another level, as has Lisa. But I think you can get
inside LAs head and I think Sacramento is a more mature
team and I think they are hungry and I think LA is prime for
So, Ive got just a couple more final questions for you
personally. Youve been with basketball on the collegiate,
professional on all kinds of levels. How have things changed
since you were a player at the UW?
Well, certainly the athleticism and the size of the athletes
both in height and in their physicalness is a big difference
that I notice. I think that the evolution of womens
sports at the collegiate level has really afforded more resources
for the college athletes everything from strength and
conditioning programs to offseason training programs to facilities
all of that has just elevated the level of play and
the level of talent at the collegiate level. I think the exposure
is a hundredfold what it was ten years ago when I played.
The fact that all of the NCAA games, the tournament games
were televised on t.v. The fact that regular season and preseason
games are televised now. Thats just a world of difference
from when I played ten years ago. So the sport is just growing
exponentially and thats whats so exciting about
being involved in the WNBA. Basketball is not only the number
one participation sport, but womens college basketball
is one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the county.
And you know we as a professional league have to figure out
how we capitalize on that and keep those fans excited about
the highest level of basketball once that college season is
over and rolls right into the WNBA season. You basically have
elite womens basketball year round now.
What are your personal basketball goals? Are you thinking
of coaching down the line or being an owner?
My experience with the ABL and the WNBA in the last five years
has been a dream opportunity for me. In terms of a business
career and challenge, I couldnt think of a better opportunity.
Its extremely challenging and its obviously something
Im very passionate about helping succeed. I also enjoy
the on the court action and eventually would love to get into
the coaching side of the business. Theres certainly
not a playing career in sight [laughs].
What has been your best basketball moment?
Well, Id have to say that its probably an easy
one. It goes way, way, way back to 1984, but Id have
to say my number one basketball memory was winning the state
In high school?
1984. Yeah, high school state championship.
What high school did you play for?
Here in Washington?
Oh, wow. I didnt know that. When do you see a WNBA championship
here in Seattle?
On the report for the last game, I describe how that before
the season, Angie asked me what my predictions were for how
the team would finish. So I gave her a predication and she
wasnt too happy with it. And so shes like youre
just being pessimistic. And I went forward and said that about
season 5 IÍm thinking were going to have a championship.
Im going to say within the first five years or
by year five. Id say year four or five.
Good. Well, Im glad that my thinking is good. And last
question, what message would you like to give to the fans
as we leave the second season and get into the third?
Well, first of all, a huge thank you. I think we sound like
a broken record saying that we think the Storm fans are the
greatest in the league but I just continue to be empowered
and motivated by the commitment of our fans. The loyalty,
the sense of enthusiasm, the sense of willingness to help
really keeps us motivated because it reminds us on a daily
basis how special this product really is and how strong the
connection between a fan and a professional athlete can really
be. I would also say keep it up and we need you to continue
to support us, we need you to continue to help us think of
creative ways to brand our players and brand our team. Every
night this summer all of us looked forward to going to KeyArena
because we knew, win or lose, that it was going to be a great
opportunity for us to see, thank and engage with our fans.
We also knew we could connect our players with our fans and
really continue to build toward something great. I think we
are on a great ride and I think that the Storms third
season is going to be the best one so far.