As the WNBA kicks off its 27th season this Friday, this week’s LOS Classic episode revisits Andy’s conversation from Season 1 with Val Ackerman, the WNBA’s founding President! Under Val’s leadership from 1997-2005, the league developed into the most successful women’s professional sports league in the world. Val is one of the most influential women in sport history. She served as the first female president of USA basketball from 2005-2008 and since 2013, she has been in her current role as Commissioner of the Big East Conference.
Hear Andy and Val discuss her childhood, growing up in an athlete-focused family, the influence of the late NBA Commissioner David Stern, the moment she was appointed WNBA President, maintaining competitive balance in the early years of the league, the keys to growing the sport, cross-promotion of the NBA & WNBA, thoughts on 1-and-done athletes, being named to the Women’s Basketball HOF, visibility of women’s leagues for young women, their shared love for The Boss and so much more! Original Release Date: August 27, 2018.
Other Topics Discussed in this Episode:
2:40 Val’s early athletic beginnings and family support, especially from her father
7:02 Val’s time at University of Virginia as a student athlete, law school and how she ended up working for the NBA’s legal department
10:43 The planning behind the WNBA’s launch
14:53 Lessons learned from David Stern and his impact on the sport
18:40 When and how Val learned she would become the President of the WNBA
24:15 Val reveals the league’s big mistake with the Houston Comets
29:08 Keys to growing the sport of women’s basketball
34:04 Cross-promotion of the NBA & WNBA
39:24 Val shares her thoughts on the 1-and-done rule
45:13 Visibility of women’s leagues for young women
47:20 Andy and Val’s shared love for Bruce Springsteen