The NBA and WNBA bubbles have proven well enough at keeping Covid-19 at bay, but they haven’t been as successful at letting disrespect through their pores.
Case in point, the Miami Heat’s Andre Iguodola. On Wednesday, the newly-christened “Number 28 from the Miami Heat” drew the ire of Washington Mystics forward Aerial Powers with a congratulatory(?) tweet that omitted Powers’ name.
A day highlighted by Powers leading the defending WNBA champions over the Conneticut Sun with a career-high 27 points turned sour as Powers called out the NBA champion for not putting “respect on my name.”
Powers’ words weren’t heeded as Iguodola responded with a tacitly misogynist and reductive two-word response: “no manners.” Veintiocho’s uninternalized retort, coupled with his initial tweet, pushed Powers to respond further, including a 2016 TMZ report highlighting previous comments from Iguodola, about his desire to prevent his daughter from playing basketball out of fear that she might “turn into a lesbian.”
“We deal with disrespect on the daily, so for someone like you, Andre, to tweet that off the same device [you] could have looked me up on is unacceptable,” Powers said. “Would it have been the same if I was a guy?”
And other WNBA players swiftly jumped into the conversation to back up Powers. Los Angeles Sparks guard Kristi Tolliver highlighted Powers’ comments and fellow Mystic Natasha Cloud stood in solidarity with her teammate. “Y’all know imma defend my family till my last breath. Her name is Aerial Powers,” Cloud tweeted.
“We’re in a time of fighting for equity as women. Same goes for equity within our leagues. All he had to do was listen or go to Google. Why not tag her and bring more attention to our league. Be a brother. Be an ally for us and our league,” Cloud added. “It was a compliment but we are challenging him to go a step forward. His past is something that we all remember as women ballers who continue to fight for respect, who are phenomenal role models, and continue to be at the forefront without fear for social issues.”
Beyond calling on Number 28 to be better and the united front shown by her fellow WNBA players, Powers did find a worthy use of the public focus. While Iggy wouldn’t say her name, Powers took the opportunity to say Breonna Taylor’s name.
While we on the topic! It’s bigger than me #SayHerName ! BREONNA TAYLOR!
— Aerial Powers (@aerial_powers23) July 29, 2020
“It’s bigger than me,” Powers said.