What in The World Was The NBA Thinking?

By Don Collins

Over the weekend, the NBA was buzzing in popular culture. The stars were all out to commemorate the league’s All Star weekend in Los Angeles. Among the festivities, the players and the league organized a video wishing the many NBA fans in China a Happy New Year.

The video montage featured many different NBA players sending their well wishes with some even showing off their linguistic skills by trying out some Chinese phrases. A well-intended gesture until a segment of the video began making the rounds on the internet. The portion that has caused so much controversy includes Philadelphia 76er JJ Redick uttering what appears to be a racial slur.

Watching the outrage that ensued has been for me a calculated effort. One thing I have begun to do whenever anything happens, good or bad, is to let all the facts trickle out and then make a decision instead of rushing to conclusions. I watched the video and, after a few days, reached this conclusion: this is unacceptable, but my outrage does not start with Redick.

I do not know him personally, but everything I have gathered about him during his career is that he seems to be a good person. I believe he made a mistake while trying to say his message. As someone who is beginning to spend more and more time on the air waves, I am learning sometimes you can say something too fast for your brain to process. This is doubly true in a situation where everyone involved is probably on a tighter schedule. His apology, a gesture that nowadays feels more obligatory than genuine, offered an explanation that was consistent with the thinking that he was trying to say too much in one sentence.

My issue with the whole thing is that no one caught this. How can a league that has billions of dollars at their disposal, not catch this in the editing process? Especially when they care so much about the growth of the brand in China. While I do not think JJ Redick is racist toward Chinese people, it was still a slur. I understand if some fans overseas do not ever root for him again or tune out 76ers games.

My hope is that all parties learn from this. American history has taught us more about the immediate people in our country. Had Redick said the n-word, accidental or not, it would almost surely be edited out of an official NBA release. While this incident is an ugly look for the NBA, it can be used as a teachable lesson. Do your due diligence. The time it would have taken for Redick to slow down or even re-record his message could have also been the amount of time needed to edit the video.

Are the Cavs Back?

By Randy Norman

Thursday February 8th marked the trade deadline for the NBA, and it was quite an interesting and eventful day. While a number of players were traded before the deadline, the most surprising and notable trades came from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs completely rearranged their roster, trading away Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder. In return the Cavs received Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as George Hill and Rodney Hood from the Kings and Jazz, respectively. It is a week before the All-Star break, and the Cavs have had a tough year to say the least. While they remain the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, something needed to change and this may be the answer to the Cavalier’s problems.

In the newcomers’ debut on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs looked like a completely different team from just a week ago. The Cavs seem rejuvenated as they played with energy, aggression, and camaraderie, which led them to a twenty-two point victory against Boston. Each of the four new players for the Cavs played exceptionally well for their first game with the team. George Hill started at point guard and scored 12 points, while Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson scored a combined 32 points coming off the bench. Larry Nance Jr. did not contribute much offensively, however his defensive efforts and energy did not go unnoticed (McMenamin, 2018).

With the new additions, the Cavs have gained youth and athleticism, which was something that they lacked with the players from their previous roster. Cleveland has also been one of the worst defensive teams in the league this season, allowing on average 110.1 points per game. However, the four new players that the Cavs acquired should be able to help turn around the team’s defensive struggles.

In addition to now having a younger, more athletic, and better defensive roster, the Cavs have also gained more scorers and playmakers. Veteran George Hill is averaging 10.3 points per game this season and currently has the league’s third highest three-point percentage at .453. Rodney Hood is playing the best basketball of his career, averaging a career-high 16.8 points per game and shooting .389 percent from the arc. This season, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. are averaging 14.5 and 8.6 points per game, respectively.

With the All-Star break a week away and only 27 games left in the regular season, many have questioned whether or not the Cavs have enough time to gel and build chemistry before the playoffs. Moreover, many doubt that the additions to the Cavs roster will be enough to push them over the edge and defeat the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors – assuming both teams win their conference titles. Certainly though, the Cavs have improved their chances of coming out of the Eastern Conference. Prior to the trade, the Toronto Raptors were the front runners to win the east, however the Cavs have now reclaimed the spot as the favorite team.

There may be a limited amount of time before the end of the season, but team chemistry certainly did not seem like an issue for the Cavs on Sunday. The Cavs played with tenacity and dominated on both sides of the ball as if the team had been together all season long. After the game, LeBron was undeniably pleased with the team’s performance. “It’s still going to take a little timing. This was an impressive win on the road, that’s a good start,” said James in a postgame interview with Doris Burke.  When asked what excited him the most about the new players’ ability to help the Cavs succeed this year, LeBron responded, “The IQ and the passion that they play with is going to help us out a lot.”

While it is too early to say for sure, after their performance against the Celtics, the Cavs should have a positive outlook on their success for the remainder of the season and continuing into the playoffs. Although they have had their series of struggles this season, the Cavs now look like the team to beat in the east once again.

 

References

McMenamin, D. (2018, February 11).  Cavs kick off their new era with a statement win in Boston. ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/22402516/cleveland-cavaliers-kick-their-new-era-road-rout-boston-celtics-nba

Greatness Starts With A Single Letter (N)

By Don Collins

Greatness always starts with a single letter. I had a bit of nervousness about my first post that developed into a mild case of writer’s block. As the old proverb by Lao Tzu says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” To combat my writers block, I simply had to just get started. I decided to write the first sentence that came to mind.

Women have faced an uphill climb in the world of sport, but each step in the right direction builds toward a future where disparities based on gender do not exist. To combat this gender block, some significant words have been written into laws protecting the right to participate in sport for women.

The purpose of this writing is to highlight ‘N.’ According to the National Girls and Women in Sports Day’s website, “This year marks the 32nd anniversary of National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), a national observance celebrating the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports.” ( “National Girls,” 2018, para. 1)

I was first alerted to the day by attending one of the Bowling Green Women’s Basketball games versus Toledo on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The two teams observed the occasion by having a special message delivered over the sound system during halftime, as two teams of local elementary school aged girls played. It caught me off guard and I had to scramble to check the website to see if that was indeed the day. Since I run my own sports media entity, Anion Sports, I tend to be on top of significant sporting news. The official date, as listed on the website, is February 7, 2018. Why on earth did the WBB teams observe the day more than a week in advance?

I learned more about the day itself and the history behind it. According to the archives from the Government Publishing Office, NGWSD was signed into existence by President Ronald Reagan on February 3, 1987 to dedicate February 4 as the first National Women in Sports Day.  My confusion remained. Why did the BGSU Women’s team observe it on January 27th ?

Part of the reason may have to do with scheduling. BGSU has a home game on February 3rd so they could have observed it closer to the actual official date. But then I discovered something else. There is no official date. It changes every year, although the national day is usually recognized sometime during the first week of February.

This transparency in the schedule allows for a greater number of opportunities to recognize the day. A friend who goes to Michigan State informed me that the MSU Women’s team recognized the day a few days after BGSU did. Their team doesn’t have a home game on the 7th, so it makes sense that the team would have to plan around that. But BGSU plays on Wednesday. What goes into their decision-making process? Maybe it was the availability of the younger girls who played at halftime. This makes sense if they had a game the Saturday before the 7th and then didn’t want to have the younger girls out on a school night.

All in all, the fluidity of the process enables a greater number of observances. I would like to reach out to a representative from the Women Sports Foundation or the athletic department here on campus ahead of my own recognition of NGWSD. Greatness is something that I have focused on a lot in the past year and a half. I feel that all people contribute greatness in their own way and no one deserves to be left out. So, the National Girls and Women’s in Sports Day is something that I am proud to have witnessed, thanks to the efforts of BGSU Athletics.

 

 

References

Lao Tzu Quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lao_tzu_137141

National Girls & Women in Sports Day. (2018). NGWSD.org. Retrieved from http://ngwsd.org/

National Women in Sports Day, 1987. (1987, February 3). Government Publishing Office. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-101/pdf/STATUTE-101-Pg2073.pdf

Don Collins is a senior at Bowling Green State University where he pursues a major in Sport Management with a specialization in Journalism. He is originally from Homewood, Illinois, about forty minutes south of Chicago. His primary sport interests include baseball, basketball and football, but he loves all sports in general.

 

Could LeBron be taking his talents to the Bay?

By Randy Norman

While LeBron James is 33 years of age, he has shown the world that he still has plenty of gas in the tank. So far this season, James is averaging nearly a triple double each game and is shooting over 50% from the field. Not to mention, James recently became the youngest player ever to reach 30,000 points in his career, surpassing NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Amazingly even in the fifteenth season of his career, James remains a dominant force in the league and is indubitably one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the court. James is often compared to the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan, however the definitive factor that seems to always separate the two is championships. While James has won three rings thus far, he is still hungry for more—but the chances of him winning another in Cleveland are slim. Many sources have indicated that LeBron James is likely to decline his player option this offseason and become an unrestricted free agent. Although LeBron has not openly indicated that he is planning to leave Cleveland, if the Cavs are not able to overcome the struggles that they are having this season and find a way to win another NBA championship, much like in 2010 James will probably decide to take his talents elsewhere.

Numerous experts and analysts have made predictions of where LeBron may end up this offseason. Of those predictions some of the teams include the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics. Most recently though, it has been reported that James may be considering joining forces with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry in Golden State, providing that they can offer him a maximum salary. ESPN writer Chris Haynes indicated that the Warriors have not expressed any interest in pursuing James at this time. However, Haynes also notes that according to sources, “Out of respect for the Warriors’ winning culture, James would listen if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space” (Haynes, 2018, para. 3). As far-fetched as it may sound, it is actually possible for the Warriors to offer James a max deal. Should James choose to opt into his contract at the end of the season and waive his no trade clause, the Cavs would be able to trade him to the Warriors and get several players in return, along with a few draft picks (Marks, 2018).

When asked about the possibility of James going to Golden State, Warriors’ superstar Kevin Durant was very candid in denying the likelihood of that occurring. However Durant also told reporters, “In this league, just like a couple years ago, me coming here, nobody would have thought that” (Nathan, 2018, para. 10). Although the probability of James ending up in the Bay Area may be low, even Durant knows that it cannot be completely ruled out of the picture. Given the current trend in the NBA of building super-teams—which LeBron James started in 2010 when he joined forces with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami—it would not be a total surprise to see James head west and create what would certainly be the most talented and dominant NBA team the world has ever seen. Nevertheless, in the words of Stephen A. Smith, “If you even think about going to the Golden State Warriors, your legacy is tarnished forever.”

The criticism that Durant endured in 2016 when he decided to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State would be miniscule in comparison to the heat that LeBron would take if he does indeed decide to join the Warriors. In the 2016 Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 series lead to the Warriors and missed the opportunity to compete for an NBA title. The same summer, Durant left the Thunder to join the already stacked Warriors, which was a decision that many considered to be an extremely weak move by a superstar and competitor. If James however, decides to join the Warriors this off-season, the opprobrium that he will likely receive as a competitor is unimaginable. James understandably would like to win a couple more championships before he retires, however joining the same team that the Cavs have failed to defeat in two of the past three NBA Finals; a team that already contains two future hall-of-famers (one of them being the second greatest basketball player in the world), could be construed as a weak and cowardly move.

Ultimately it is too early to speculate for sure where LeBron James will end up next season. There are several months left in the regular season and James’ focus right now is with the Cavaliers and doing everything in his power to get the team in better shape for the playoffs. It will be interesting though to see how the playoffs pan out, as the outcome will likely play a significant role in James’ decision to leave Cleveland.

Randy Norman is a junior at Bowling Green State University where he pursues a major in Sport Management with a specialization in General Business. He is originally from Bolingbrook, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago. His primary sport interests include basketball, football, boxing, and track & field – both at the amateur and professional levels. 

Welcome (back) to Spring 2018!

It has been several months since we regularly published entries on the Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Watch Project. But we are ready to resume and look forward to a fruitful semester of writing by a talented group of students. At the beginning of the semester, we were fortunate to meet with BGSU alumnus Jay Crawford, former ESPN host of Sportscenter and Cold Pizza, and currently serving as Executive in Residence at his Alma Mater.

Jay has been generous with his time in meeting with students as he shared with us about the importance of journalists as “truth tellers.” Our goal as always is to analyze and critique media practices in their coverage of sport, in the hope that we can find ‘truth’ in what they are writing and saying about sport. We welcome your comments and feedback on our entries, and encourage you to share our posts with others who are interested in cultivating the skills of good sport journalism.

 

“DAD. WALK IT BACK.”

By Dr. Nancy E. Spencer, Associate Professor, BGSU Sport Management Program

During a press conference at the NCAA Final Four, UConn Coach Geno Auriemma was asked about the declining number of women coaches.[1] He responded by saying, “not as many women want to coach” (Jones, 2017, para. 3). Research confirms that his response is a common refrain. In a study by Acosta and Carpenter (1994), men and women athletic administrators were asked to provide reasons for the decline of women in coaching and administration of intercollegiate athletics. The responses revealed pronounced gender differences. Women perceived that there were systemic issues (e.g., a successful ‘old-boys’ network; lack of support for women; and unconscious discrimination), while men pointed to problems with individual women (i.e., failure of women to apply; lack of qualified women coaches and administrators; and time constraints due to family responsibilities) (Acosta & Carpenter, 1994). In a more recent NCAA study by Rachel Stark, the following reasons were given: increasing demands of coaching; constraints on working mothers; homophobia; lack of mentors and/or networking opportunities; and gender bias (Longman, 2017).

Two Final Four women coaches also gave their thoughts about why there are fewer women coaches. Stanford Coach Tara Van Derveer said that “women aren’t recycled in the way that men are” (Jenkins, 2017, para. 12). A unique example occurred with former Vanderbilt Coach, Melanie Balcomb, who was fired in 2016. Three months after not being hired elsewhere, South Carolina’s NCAA winning Coach Dawn Staley, hired Balcomb to serve as an “analytics consultant” (Jenkins, 2017, para. 15).

When Geno’s comments were discussed on “Around-the-Horn,” Prof. Kevin Blackistone confirmed research findings. Blackistone pointed out that before Title IX was enacted in 1972, more than 90% of coaches and administrators of women’s teams were women, while the average percentage of all women collegiate coaches is now around 43%. (see: Acosta & Carpenter, 2014). According to Nicole LaVoi, Co-Director of the Tucker Center, her biggest concern is that young women are missing “the opportunity to have a female coaching role model” (Longman, 2017, para. 25).

While many coaches, journalists and broadcasters have responded to Coach Auriemma’s statements, perhaps the best response was the one his daughter wrote on Twitter: “DAD, WALK IT BACK.” She added: “I’m pretty sure what dad was trying to say, in a limited, male perspective, is that a lot of avenues are open to women now that weren’t” (Jenkins, 2017, para. 8). Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Coach Auriemma or his daughter, the door has been opened to an important dialogue that journalists and broadcasters have made more visible.

[1] According to NCAA statistics, the percentage of women coaches of Division I women’s basketball teams has declined from 63% in 2007-2008 to 56% in 2015-2016

The Greatest Story in Sports History?

By Dr. Nancy E. Spencer

Tennis commentator John McEnroe called it the greatest story in sports history. Not just in women’s sports, or women’s tennis, but in all of sports’ history! And he wasn’t alone in proclaiming it. On Thursday, January 26, all four ESPN panelists on ‘Around the Horn’ agreed. They were referring to the story of 36-year old Venus Williams and 35-year old Serena Williams, the famous “Sister Act” who were to meet in their 27th head-to-head match in the Women’s Singles final at the 2017 Australian Open. It was part of an historical weekend of tennis that also featured two thirtysomething players in the Men’s final: 35-year old Roger Federer vs. 30-year old Rafa Nadal. By most standards, tennis players in their mid-30s are thought of as over-the-hill. In this case, it was ‘must-see TV’ and tennis was the better for it. Not only were they four of the best players of all time, but they have dominated tennis for over a decade, “winning a combined total of 60 majors in their careers” (Bialik, 2017, para. 1).

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The Results? In the weekend matches, Serena edged out older sister Venus, 6-4, 6-4, while Roger needed five sets to prevail over Rafa, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Winning another major title brought Serena’s total number to 23 majors, surpassing Steffi Graf (22), and trailing only Margaret Court, the Australian, who holds 24 titles. Besides adding to her numbers, Serena reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking this week, after what was (for her) a disappointing 2016 season. Now that she is healthy Serena could conceivably tie and maybe even surpass Margaret Court in 2017.

The 2017 Australian Open men’s and women’s finals were nostalgic for fans. My biggest regret was that I didn’t attend this year’s tournament in Australia. Ten years ago, I was at the Australian Open for both finals. Guess who won? The same two: Serena won the Women’s singles over Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-2, while Roger defeated Fernando Gonzalez, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 to win the Men’s singles.

The Williams sisters’ rivalry as well as the pairing of Roger and Rafa demonstrate the longevity of their careers. Venus and Serena have faced each other 27 times, while Roger and Rafa have played 35 times. Neither can truly be considered the ‘greatest tennis rivalry’ in terms of the number of times they have played. Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova hold that distinction, having met 80 times between 1973 and 1989.

May-Jun 1986:  Martina Navratilova (left) of the USA chats with Chris Evert also of the USA as they hold their respective trophies after the Womens Singles final during the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.  Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

So, why do multiple sports writers believe the Williams’ sisters’ story may be “the greatest sports story” ever? (Simons, 2017)?

For those who have followed the Williams’ sisters throughout their careers, it is evident that all the elements of a great story are there: a compelling orientation, a crisis, escalation, discovery, and change (Klems, 2014). Below I elaborate on how the Williams sisters’ story demonstrates each of those elements – and how the media reported on them.

The beginning of a good story needs to “grab the reader’s attention,” and orient us to “the setting, mood and tone of the story” (Klems, 2014, para. 15). In 1991, Sports Illustrated writer Sonia Steptoe (1991) introduced 10-year old Venus as “the most hotly pursued preteen in U.S. tennis history” (para. 5). We learned that Venus hailed from Compton, CA (as in “Straight-out-of-Compton” fame) where she lived in “a small mint-green house… spray-painted with black graffiti.” There she dreamed “of wearing a white dress and playing tennis on the grass courts at Wimbledon” (para. 2). Americans were looking for the next great superstar to fill the void left by Chris Evert’s retirement. Venus’ coach, Rick Macci likened her athleticism to ‘His Airness,’ Michael Jordan. The anticipation of this “Cinderella of the Ghetto,” as her father referred to her, established her promise as the future of tennis. Her father, Richard, also suggested that younger sister Serena would be even better than Venus!

venus-and-serena-1991

The second ingredient of a good story is a “crisis that tips your character’s world upside down,” and she cannot immediately resolve the crisis (para. 19). While Venus faced a series of mini-crises in her early career, none rose to the level of unresolvable until 2001, when she and Serena were slated to meet in the semi-finals at Indian Wells, a tournament that was a family favorite due to its proximity to Compton. It was where Serena had won her first professional match. By 2001, Venus and Serena had each won a grand slam tournament – Serena won the 1999 U.S. Open, while Venus captured the 2000 Wimbledon title. When they arrived at Indian Wells, there was great anticipation among fans to see their match that was to be aired live on ESPN. Dominant reports conveyed that moments before their scheduled match was to begin, Venus defaulted, leading some to believe that their father Richard had orchestrated the default, although that suspicion has never been substantiated. Given the disappointment of fans, the announcement was met with harsh booing from the crowd (Smith, 2001). Two days later, when Serena appeared for the final against Kim Clijsters, fans again greeted her with loud boos. And when Venus and Richard entered the court, the booing increased and some fans were heard shouting racial epithets. Richard Williams reported that one fan told him he was ‘lucky it wasn’t 1975,’ or he would ‘skin him alive’ (Smith, 2001, p. 3C).

In an interview with Doug Smith, of USA Today, Richard “accused the media of biased coverage of his family and said ESPN announcers (Pam Shriver and Mary Joe Fernandez) were derelict for failing to criticize the behavior of Indian Wells’ fans when Serena defeated Cljisters” (p. 3C). During the match, Shriver and Fernandez had described the environment as ‘unlike anything they had ever seen.’ Although Serena somehow prevailed to win in three sets, fans continued to boo her throughout the trophy presentation, even as then-19-year old Serena told the crowd that she loved them. In the aftermath of that traumatic experience, Richard vowed never to return to Indian Wells (Smith, 2001).

In 2009, Serena revealed in her autobiography that Venus had informed tournament officials that she was injured earlier in the day of their scheduled semifinal, adding that she would not be able to play the match. However, given the delay (by tournament officials) in announcing her withdrawal until just before the match, Venus (and her father) were vilified by the crowd. Unfortunately, Serena bore the brunt of it. In retrospect, Serena could not understand why a tournament official did not make an announcement or seek to quiet the crowd by telling them that Venus was truly injured. She described it as one of the ‘darkest moments of her career.’

The third element of a good story involves an escalation of the crisis, which occurred in the Williams’ saga when the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) introduced the “Road Map” in 2008 (Evans, 2008). That plan was implemented to reduce the number of player withdrawals and to encourage players to make greater commitments to tournaments. The aim of the guidelines was to make the tour more ‘fan friendly’ by ensuring that top-ranked players would appear in major tournaments. Another feature of the new plan was the designation of five tournaments as ‘premier mandatory’ events, which meant the prize money would be greater than all except the grand slams, and players would be required to enter, barring injury. When Indian Wells was designated as ‘premier mandatory,’ some speculated that it was done in part to encourage the return of the Williams sisters to Indian Wells. Despite the WTA’s efforts to encourage their return, Venus and Serena remained steadfast in their refusal to play at Indian Wells, and their boycott continued. Many in the media expressed the view that the Williams sisters should return to Indian Wells, as indicated here: “There comes a time when bygones should be bygones. Venus and Serena have made their point… it is time for the sisters to return to the California desert with their heads held high and lingering slights, nasty as they were, forgotten” (Evans, 2008, para. 12).

The fourth ingredient of a good story entails discovery, which occurs as “the climax of the story,” when the protagonist(s) “make(s) a discovery that changes (her) life” (para. 41). In February 2015, Serena announced that she would end her 14-year boycott and return to Indian Wells. She attributed her change of heart to Nelson Mandela’s impact upon her life. His example, coupled with lessons she had learned from her mother, enabled her to realize the power of forgiveness. In contrast to the scene of the 2001 tourney, Serena was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation. Although nervous in her first match, she won it and advanced to the semifinals before having to default due to injury. This time she appeared on court before the match to explain to fans what happened, and the fans had a more positive response. According to Thomas (2015), “You could hear a few scattered boos, unbelievably and too predictably, but mostly there was applause” (para. 20).

Finally, a good story reflects change in the protagonist when she is “transformed into someone more mature, insightful or at peace” (para. 48). Serena’s change of heart was noted by USTA President Katrina Adams who said, “Serena’s decision to return is another sign of her maturity in understanding that although many people show signs of ignorance, not all are (ignorant),” Adams added that, “The past is history, but the present is a gift. She has millions of fans in California that would love to see her play in person, and what a treat they will be in for” (Clarey, 2015, para. 16). While most of the media attention focused on Serena’s change of heart and growth in maturity, there was little if any mention that perhaps Indian Wells needed to apologize publicly for the inappropriate behavior that occurred at Indian Wells in 2001, if for no other reason than to assure Venus and Serena that such a response would never happen again. After Serena’s positive experience upon returning in 2015, her older sister Venus decided to return in 2016. She too experienced the love and appreciation of fans upon her return to the court.

The story of how the Williams’ sisters overcame the crisis at Indian Wells is only one chapter of the compelling story of their 20-year careers in professional women’s tennis. That is probably why so many sports writers and broadcasters consider theirs to be the ‘Greatest Sports’ Story!’ The best thing is that it is still unfolding before us.

References

Bialik, C. (2017, January 27). Tennis is growing old with Federer, Nadal and the Williams sisters. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved from https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/tennis-is-growing-old-with-federer-nadal-and-the-williams-sisters/

Clarey, C. (2015). After a 14-year boycott, Serena Williams plans to play at Indian Wells. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/sports/tennis/serena-williams-will-play-indian-wells-ending-boycott.html?_r=0

Clarey, C. (2017, January 26). A final match for Venus and Serena Williams, but maybe not the last one. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/sports/tennis/williams-venus-serena-australian-open.html?_r=0

Evans, R. (2008, September 6). Williams threat to U.S. Roadmap. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2008/sep/07/tennis.usopentennis

Simons, B. (2017, January 26). Venus and Serena – ‘The greatest sports story.’ Inside Tennis. Retrieved from http://www.insidetennis.com/2017/01/ao-venus-and-serena/

Smith, D. (2001, March 26). Williams decries fans as racist. USA Today, p.3C.

Steptoe, S. (1991, June 10). Child’s play. Sports Illustrated Vault. Retrieved from http://www.si.com/vault/1991/06/10/124343/childs-play-tenniss-newest-pixie-is-named-venus-at-age-10-she-dreams-of-flying-to-jupiter-others-have-earthier-hopes-for-her

Thomas, L. (2015, March 23). A place in the sun: The return and withdrawal of Serena Williams at Indian Wells. Grantland. Retrieved from http://grantland.com/the-triangle/serena-williams-indian-wells-2015/