In recent months, catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter's acceptance into the mainstream has turned sports into full-blown political arenas with the NBA at the forefront. In the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, players took their social justice advocacy to new heights with an NBA strike – and it's working. While many are praising the NBA's activism as a much-needed change in sports, for the WNBA it's always been bigger than the game.

The political ground gained by the NBA could only be won through the long and difficult road paved by the WNBA. While the media gave prominence to the NBA's protests and strikes playing out in the Florida bubble, the women of the WNBA have worked for years to stake their place as the moral center of basketball, and the league at large.

On Wednesday night, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics pulled out of their scheduled game and arrived on the court wearing shirts spelling the name of Jacob Blake. On the reverse side of the shirts were seven red bullet holes, marking where Blake was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The WNBA’s league office accommodated the protest and officially postponed the scheduled games.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

For the women of basketball, these statements aren't new. In 2016, in response to the deaths of Philado Castile and Alton Sterling – both killed by police – players of the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, and Phoenix Mercury wore unsanctioned warmup shirts  featuring the victims' names and "Black Lives Matter." At the time, it set a new precedent for sports activism, one that didn't go down well.

Their demonstration then was met with $500 fines per player. A league statement read: “We are proud of WNBA players’ engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues but expect them to comply with the league’s uniform guidelines.”

For years, WNBA players have spoken cohesively for an array of social justice issues, extending their platforms on and off the court to discussions on systemic racism, abortion rights, gun violence, and many more. Many players opted out of playing this season, choosing instead to focus on advocacy work. For WNBA players, whose salaries are worlds removed from those of their male colleagues, the choice and dignity to sit out a season is heavy.

“When we talk about playing and not playing, the implications that has on a female basketball player [relative to] a male basketball player are dire,” Nneka Ogwumike, an All-Star forward for the Los Angeles Sparks and president of the WNBA’s players union, told ESPN.

The power of the WNBA's tireless advocacy is that these players, mostly Black women, haven't been afforded the luxury of staying silent and ignorant on issues of social justice. While the NBA and corporate America have now come to appreciate the commercial value of Black Lives Matter, the players of the WNBA were using their voices long before the season even started.

We Recommend
  • black friday 2020
    The Black Friday Deals You Actually Want to Shop
    • Style
  • Tupac Shakur
    Why the 'Tupac Lives' Conspiracy Refuses to Die in 2023
    • Culture
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    The Best Black Sneakers for Any Rotation
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Panda Dunks Are Restocking (Again)
    • Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Cult Designer Verdy Just Became BLACKPINK's Artistic Director
    • Culture
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • Nike is updating its iconic Tech Fleece for 2023.
    Nike's Revamped the Uniform of the Roadman (& Haaland)
    • Style
  • kaws sky high farm nike air force 1
    Sky High Farm & KAWS' Air Force 1s Stand on Simple Business
    • Sneakers
  • nocta nike fleece 8000 peaks collection
    NOCTA x Nike's New Fleece Is Actually Season-Appropriate
    • Style
  • anthony edwards adidas ae 1 sneaker
    Anthony Edwards' adidas Basketball Shoe Is Coming in Hot, Believe That
    • Sneakers
  • Justin Bieber Wearing a Hoodie With One Sleeve Dangling
    Can Someone Check On Justin Bieber?
    • Style
  • Plisse Milk Frother
    Plissé Homeware to Make the Season Bright
    • Design
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.