Everyone Is Loving What LeBron James Had To Say About Women’s Basketball

LeBron James had lots of praise for women’s basketball, particularly at the college level, during a locker-room interview after a game on Wednesday night.

James scored 25 points, adding seven rebounds and nine assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Washington Wizards 125-120 on the night.

With the NCAA Tournament now in full swing, the four-time MVP was asked for a take on the women’s game and pointed out that there isn’t much of a difference between men’s and women’s basketball right now.

LeBron James pointing

“I don’t think there’s much difference between the men’s and women’s game when it comes to college basketball,” he said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I think the popularity comes in with the icons that they have in the women’s game. You look at Angel Reese, you look at JuJu [Watkins], you look at Caitlin Clark, you look at Paige [Bueckers].

“You look at the young girl that’s at Iowa State, the freshman there [Audi Crooks]. You look at [Cameron] Brink … at Stanford. And that’s just to name a few. And the freshman that’s at Notre Dame [Hannah Hidalgo]. Because they’re not allowed to go to the NBA [after their freshman year].”

LeBron James believes the popularity of the women’s NCAA tournament this year compared to the men’s is the “icons” involved in the women’s game. But he pointed out the Catch-22 of those players growing their profile because they’re prevented from being one-and-done.

The Iowa Hawkeyes beat the LSU Tigers this Monday, with both Clark and Reese on show. The game attracted an average of 12.3 million viewers on ESPN, with just one of the men’s games bringing in more as Duke vs. NC State garnered 15.1 million viewers.

Fans appreciated what LBJ had to say. Here’s how some of them reacted:

“Regardless if you think Bron is right or not (he’s right) it’s great that he’s talking about the women’s game.”

“I mean he wasn’t wrong. Most tuned in for a certain players not the team. Women’s Basketball has always been in tuned when it comes to Fundamentals of Basketball, but it’s about the stars. Even in the NBA. If the team have no stars only the home and die hard fans tuned in.You can just really tell LeBron loves the game it’s going to be sad when he’s gone 😢”

“He’s right, woman’s college ball has the right formula. Ladies can build their brand now in college, mature on and off the court, and draft stock rises. Always a chance of injury…”

LeBron James Explains Why Staying In College Longer Could Be Beneficial

While female college players are disadvantaged in that they need to be turning 22 in the calendar year of the draft, while the NBA requires a player to be 19, LeBron James reckons there’s some benefit as women get to build a legacy in college.

“You’re able to build a real iconic legacy at a program,” he continued. “And that’s what we all love about it. That’s what we all love. We love the girl’s game because of that moment you actually get to see those girls [build to].

“That’s what makes the girl’s Final Four and the Elite Eight so great. Yeah, Iowa was a great team; Caitlin Clark is the reason we tuned in. You’re going to watch Purdue because of Zach Edey, because he’s a great player. We watched that Purdue-Tennessee game because of Zach Edey and [Dalton] Knecht.

“Players, depending on who they are, will drive the attention when it comes to viewership.“

Still, he recognized that female stars are at risk of losing out when it comes to personal incentives given that they are not able to immediately jump to the pros after a great freshman year.

“It’s just a different time between the men’s and women’s,” he remarked. “And men can come out after their freshman year. If I have a big-ass season after my freshman year of college basketball, I’m going to the league. If a girl has a great season — like JuJu. JuJu, she can’t come out. If she could, you think she might. Maybe. But that’s the difference.”

It is worth noting that NIL has made it so that female college players can make millions while still in school as opposed to hundreds of thousands in the WNBA. The average WNBA salary was $147,745 in 2023, a lot less than what the likes of Clark and Reese made last year.

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