The WNBA season has restarted and Aerial Powers, number 23 for the Washington Mystics, has been on an absolute tear. Powers scored a career-high 27 points in a 94-89 win over the Connecticut Suns, which included several stellar long-range threes.
Her performance caught the attention of numerous basketball fans across the globe, including high-profile NBA players who took to social media to offer kudos.
There was one problem however. Andre Iguodala, a three-time NBA Champion, All-Star and Finals MVP, tweeted out cheering on Powers. The issue? He didn’t mention Aerial Powers by name. Instead, Iguodala referred to Powers as ‘Number 23’.
Powers took offence to this and tweeted back after the game, telling Iguodala to put some respect on her name. She followed this up stating he could have easily looked up her name to include in the tweet.
Put some respect on my name or keep this tweet to yourself!! https://t.co/xFtU8f7KWp— Aerial Powers (@aerial_powers23) July 29, 2020
We deal with disrespect on the daily so for someone like you @andre to tweet that off the same device u could have looked me up on is unacceptable. Mind you commentator said my name. Would it have been the same if I was a guy?Look at the pic. I didn’t forget . I SAID WHAT I SAID! https://t.co/hl0qYJNjI4 pic.twitter.com/2kPTbJPScP— Aerial Powers (@aerial_powers23) July 29, 2020
Powers has a point. Finding out one of the top players on the defending WNBA Champion Washington Mystics name, wouldn’t have been that difficult. For the amount of time it took him to tweet, he could have spent an extra few seconds Googling ‘Mystics Number 23” and including her name, or tagging in her the tweet for a more personalised offer of respect.
On the other hand, perhaps Iguodala was simply caught up in the excitement and offering genuine appreciation for her style of play.
Iguodala was clearly watching the game, which is a great step forward for the WNBA and women’s sport in general. Having a high profile male athlete publicly show support for the women’s game, is what is needed in society to encourage more men and women to tune in to women’s sports. While he may have been unfamiliar with the players on the court, a high-profile figure showing love for Power’s abilities is only good for women’s sport as a whole. Hopefully Powers’ response won’t deter other major figures from commenting and supporting the women’s game with the fear of backlash.
There may be slightly more to this story than what meets the eye as Power’s shared an old article where Iguodala didn’t want his then-six-year-old daughter to play basketball because he was afraid she would become a lesbian while in child support hearings.
It is unusual for someone who loves the game, to be discouraging his own child from playing the sport. It appears from his statement that he was being homophobic, which Power’s says she “has not forgotten.” Power’s may have taken offence to this statement as a lesbian basketballer, who came out last year. She isn’t backing down.