The WNBA recently celebrated its 26th anniversary and in that span of time, not only has the league grown exponentially but so have its players’ business portfolios. Many of the league’s superstars have truly evolved into savvy businesswomen.
Although the league’s salary floor still isn’t on par with its brother organization, the NBA, earnings have risen significantly in recent years. According to Boardroom.com, the average WNBA player’s salary in 2021 was $120,648, which was 60% higher than 2019’s $74,349. The new supermax salary number this year was $221,450, positioning the league’s biggest stars to net nearly $500,000 annually when factoring in potential bonuses and league marketing deals and there were 7 WNBA players making the supermax.
Not to mention, WNBA players are leveraging their time off the court as well. For example, Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart inked an exclusive deal with Puma, making her the ninth WNBA player in history to have an exclusive shoe. Not to mention, the WNBA tapped players to team up with Top Shot to offer NFT collectibles commemorating in-game plays from the past and present.
These women are showing they are all-around power players in the league and in business.
During her twelve seasons in the WNBA, the 6’5 beauty led the LA Sparks to the championships in 2001 and 2002. She’d cemented herself as one of the most successful players in the WNBA and became synonymous with the league before retiring in 2009. Now, the author, actress and businesswoman is the President & Owner, Lisa L. Enterprises.
She consistently leverages her fame into smart partnerships, including a 2020 collaboration with Boston Market to celebrate the first National Rotisserie Chicken Day in June. The campaign was all about “taking a side against fried” to encourage healthier choices.
Most recently, she launched an athlete-focused real etate firm
. Aston Rose, which specializes in finding properties for celebrities and athletes nationwide. Co-founded by Tomi Rose, a former professional cheerleader with decades of real estate experience.
To date, the Aston Rose team has closed more than $500 million in real estate transactions combined.
Candace Parker has experienced a lot of firsts.
She was the first woman on the cover of an NBA 2K cover and is among the few WNBA players to have a signature shoe (and an apparel collection with Adidas). She is also one of a handful of women to regularly contribute as a studio analyst for NBA on TNT since 2018. Parker also launched a documentary depicting the history of women’s sports, the first project for Parker’s company, Baby Hair Productions, which is working in association with Scout Productions.
“I sit here because of Title IX and I hope that – although we have so many wins – we have so much further to go,” Parker said in an interview with Knox News. “That’s why we went with having the Title IX story told through my eyes, so that you can really see if Title IX didn’t exist, I wouldn’t exist.”
Shortly after leading her team through the finals in 2021, the Phoenix Mercury guard announced a partnership with investment platform Public to steer conversations centered around women’s pay equity and building wealth.
“During my time in the WNBA, I’ve thought a lot and spoken up about how to improve our pay equity as players. But this is an important conversation to have outside of sports, too,” Skylar Diggins-Smith told AfroTech in an interview. “Investing in the stock market can be a great way to build long-term wealth, and I’m excited to work with Public to help the next generation of investors, especially women of color, start investing in the public markets and themselves.”
This partnership is one of many, including her collaboration with Body Armor.