Published February 19, 2016
NEW YORK – Last week, in a press release, the WNBA announced the hiring of new league president Lisa Borders who will lead the WNBA in its twentieth year this season. Lisa, who was appointed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, replaces longtime previous president Laurel Richie who resigned in November to pursue other interests.
Borders, who was instrumental in bringing the WNBA to Atlanta in 2008 when she served as Vice Mayor of Atlanta and President of the City Council, brings more than 25 years of experience in operations, marketing, government relations and public service according to the release.
In a recent league Q & A, Borders said, “I want to spend the initial part of my term listening to everyone from the league staff to the owners to the chief operating officers to the players and the fans and all of our stakeholders to understand what we’ve done in the past, what we’re doing today, and then chart the future together.”
One her those ideas for charting the future is looking how Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla) was able to connect with her fans and generate new fans to the twenty year old league.
In a recenter interview by Charles Hallman from the Minnesota Spokesman-Review, Borders said;
“..a missing ingredient might be “connectedness,” something she saw when Atlanta drafted Shoni Schimmel, a Native American, and now has a connection with Native American fans as a result. “The Native American community came out in droves. You can see that connection with her heritage and her being an athlete was very fruitful for her, for the team, for the Atlanta community and most importantly, the Native American community.”
Such “connections” can be done in any city “with any player that we have,” said Borders. “I think there needs to be a connection, not just intellectual looking at the stats and watching the technical components of the game. I think we’ve got to get inside of our players and have them connect better with our fans.”
Shoni and the Atlanta Dream will open its ninth season of action at Philips Arena on Sunday, May 22 vs. the Chicago Sky, as part of the “WNBA Tip-Off presented by Verizon”, according to the 2016 WNBA.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NDNSports.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.