New York, NY—Notre Dame’s head coach Muffet McGraw’s passionate speech about gender inequality a year ago at the Women’s Final Four in Tampa must have had a profound impact on Diana Taurasi.
It’s impossible to gauge a definite timeline when women can hold an NBA head coaching position or be real decision-makers of the league.
“We are right there. We are right there,” Liliahn Majeed, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) vice president of diversity and inclusion, reported by Reuters. “None of us can tell the future but I believe that we’re close. I have to believe it.”
There are currently four women on the NBA’s coaching staff, including Becky Hammon, who was indoctrinated in 2014 with San Antonio making her the first full-time female assistant in any of the pro sports entities.
The NBA has made strides in this area in the past few years. There are eighteen women in NBA front-office positions, two key office basketball operations roles, three serving as referees, and dozens in athletic training positions.
“We love to say that we are the tallest short man,” said Majeed, who is responsible for providing best practices and leadership on inclusion to the league’s offices and 30 teams.
Diana Taurasi said Saturday that she’d like to be in sports ownership after her playing days are over. Taurasi mentioned she is disappointed in wealthy women for what she sees as a lack of support for women’s professional sports.
Taurasi has three national championships at Connecticut, three WNBA titles, four Olympic gold medals, becoming the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and so much more — has earned her recognition as one of the sport’s all-time athlete. But she is more than a basketball player, she has a vision of owning a team one day, especially since there is a shortage of women in ownership roles.
With women in ownership, Taurasi hopes to change the dynamics of women with means not putting their money behind women’s sports, but rather something she sees as a problem considering there is a long history of people not fully investing in women’s sports.
Taurasi, the veteran Phoenix Mercury guard, joined Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird and soccer great Megan Rapinoe, who is Bird’s girlfriend, in an Instagram live video that lasted more than four hours. Penny Taylor, a former WNBA player, and current assistant coach as well as Taurasi’s wife, also participated in the live chat, which addressed a variety of topics, including why there aren’t more women in sports ownership.
“Where are the rich women? I’m so disappointed in the women that have a lot of money,” Taurasi said. “Sometimes you invest in things that don’t make money yet, but you want to make them better.”
Taurasi, who will turn 38 in June, said she is often asked what she wants to do after her playing career.
DT said at the very least she wants to see more female owners in the WNBA. The Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, and Seattle Storm are among the WNBA’s teams with female ownership.
“There comes a point where you have to take initiative in the wealth and everything you’ve built, and it’s not to be a coach, it’s not to be under anyone, and I think that’s what we do as women. We always want to be under someone,” Taurasi said. “Even the NBA, which I love, the NBA to me is not the pinnacle of all, which even to all the coaches that we’ve praised and have done amazing things, we’re always a stepping stone. I don’t want to be a stepping stone.”
“Everyone is like, ‘Do you want to be a coach? Do you want to be a GM?’ No,” Taurasi said, “I want to f—ing own it.”