Is Juwanna Mann coming to the WNBA.
The recent success of transgender women in female sports, exemplified by Lia Thomas winning an NCAA championship in swimming, has sparked controversy and discussions across the United States.
The topic of transgender participation in sports has also entered the political realm.
In a recent interview via Fox News, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas expressed his skepticism about the possibility of a transgender woman playing in the WNBA. Arenas believes that it is highly unlikely to see a transgender woman competing in the WNBA, even at the high school level.
He argues that the nature of basketball itself presents challenges for transgender women.
According to Arenas, elite female basketball players do not view themselves as equals to women and prefer to train and compete with males. He suggests that if a male player is exceptionally talented, they would continue to play against their male counterparts instead of transitioning to play in the WNBA. When asked about the hypothetical scenario of a male basketball player deciding to become transgender in order to play in the WNBA, Arenas shook his head, indicating that he believes this would not occur.
“It won’t happen. It won’t even happen in the high school level. The reason is … Hoop has its own entity,” Arenas said. “A hoop woman, your elite woman, she thinks she could compete with males. She doesn’t even consider females as equals. So when you’re talking about the Candace Parkers and stuff, they want to train with the males. So you’re not gonna have a male who’s that good that’s gonna say, ‘Hey, I wanna go against girls.’ Because if they’re that good, then they’re still competing with dudes.”
He explains that if a transgender player is already skilled enough to play in the NBA, they would continue to play with male players rather than lower their skill level to compete against women. Arenas emphasizes the desire of basketball players to reach the highest level of the sport, which is the NBA.
“They’ll be playing overseas basketball. … If they were good enough already, then they’re playing with dudes. … What I’m saying is, if there’s a trans player and they’re that good, they’re practicing and playing with the men anyway,” explained. “They’re too good for women, that’s beneath them. So you’re not gonna have a ‘Juwanna Mann.’ No one is going to lower their skill down to play.
He suggests that if female basketball players were given the opportunity to try out for the NBA, they would eagerly seize it because they aspire to be hoopers at the highest level. Thus, Arenas argues that female players do not want to be categorized as women in the context of basketball.
“If you take the top 10 girls and say, ‘All right you guys have a chance to tryout for the NBA, would you do it?’ They’re gonna be like, ‘f— yeah.’ … A hooper wants to be at the highest level. So, if the NBA is the highest level for a hooper, they don’t want to be considered women at this point. I am f—ing a hooper,”e he said.
“You can ask Candace Parker, she’s gonna be like, ‘I’m a hooper. I’m not a WNBA player. I’m a f—ing hooper. You play me against a WNBA player, there’s not ‘girl rules,’ she’s gonna play with the boys ball. She’s not going to play with the girls ball. If I have a shootout with a WNBA player, she’s not gonna want to use her ball. You’re not gonna make me feel less than a hooper.”
While no transgender athletes currently play in the WNBA, it is important to note that approximately 20% of WNBA rosters include publicly out members of the LGBT community, as estimated by Out Sports.