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Poor Harrison Barnes… OK, so “poor” is not a good description for a guy who made $24 million last season.
However, the Dallas Mavericks forward, through no fault of his own, was thrown under the bus earlier this week.
By a WNBA player.
Skylar Diggins, star point guard for the Dallas Wings, featured in a series titled, “Money Diaries,” for Wealthsimple, used Barnes as a comparison to what she believes is an injustice for WNBA players.
“I’m the highest-paid player on the Dallas Wings, and my salary is in the low six figures,” Diggins said in the story. “[Harrison Barnes, the highest-paid player on the Dallas Mavericks, made $24 million last season.] He’s definitely younger than me.”
Diggins then dug deeper, bringing up Barnes’ statistical performance last season, when the 25-year-old forward averaged 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 34.2 minutes in 77 games (all starts), shooting 44.5 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from deep and 82.7 percent from the free-throw line.
“Do you know his stats? Was he an All-Star? I mean, it doesn’t matter. But last year, I was first team All-WNBA, which only goes to five players. I was also a WNBA All-Star for the third time.”
For comparison’s sake, Diggins, who turned 28 on Aug. 2, averaged 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals in 34.1 minutes in 32 games (all starts), shooting 40.3 percent from the floor, 29.7 percent from the 3-point arc and 83.9 percent from the free-throw line.
She made $716,364 on her WNBA salary.
“To think of that and then to see how the numbers translate for guys who are bench players, guys who never see the floor…, ” she said.
“I’m at a loss for words sometimes, talking about this,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that men make more money for the same amount of work, or even less work. I always wonder: If I have a son and I have a daughter, what do I tell them? What do I tell my daughter if it’s her dream to play in the WNBA? And what do I tell young girls across the world who I encounter, who look to us as superheroes and aspire to be like us, who dream of playing in this league?”
The WNBA does not generate nearly the about of revenue as does the NBA and its broadcast-rights deal is minuscule in comparison. WNBA players receive less than 25 percent of Basketball Related Income (BRI), compared to 51 percent for NBA players.
WNBA squads play 34 regular-season games in a season that lasts about four and a half months before the playoffs start. NBA teams play 82 games in the regular season, which lasts six months, and the playoffs can stretch the season for another two months before the curtain comes down on the Finals.
Despite what she believes are inequities, the former Notre Dame star has not lost her passion for the game of basketball.
“Because we don’t play just for the money — we love the game of basketball,” she said. “We love the competition. It’s the greatest, most-competitive league in the world. Only the top 1 percent of all women who play the game make it to this level.”
It runs deeper than love of the game, though, Diggins said.
“But what am I supposed to tell my daughter? This lack of gender parity and the wage gap will be there, whatever she wants to do,” she said. “She will never make the same amount of money as a man. She will never make the same amount of money as my son will.”