Monday, October 19, 2009

In the Summer of 1998, the WNBA welcomed two expansion teams to its ranks, one named the Washington Mystics and the other the Detroit Shock.

Now only one remains. Early this morning, the news broke on the RebKell WNBA message board that the Shock were leaving Detroit and heading to Oklahoma. By this evening, ESPN was also reporting that a group from Tulsa had indeed bought the Detroit franchise.

While the Shock players will still have jobs -- albeit in another city -- their fans in Detroit will no longer have a team. And Coach Mahorn and his staff, well, they apparently are not part of the deal. Tulsa has already hired former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson. We also suspect that the Shock's name, so fitting for Detroit, will not fit quite as well in Tulsa.

The BasketCases find all of this very sad. We hate it when WNBA teams fail. We hate it for the sport of women's professional basketball, but we hate it most for the fans of the failed team. No doubt there are fans in the Motor City who feel as passionately about their (former) team as the BasketCases and so many others in D.C. feel about the Mystics. We know there are . . . we've met some of them. And what's particularly sad is that the Shock failed at the box office . . . certainly not on the court. They own 3 WNBA Championship trophies. In fact, they are the only team in the Eastern Conference to have won the big one, and they did it not once, not twice, but three times in their 12-year history. Pretty damn good.

But Detroit's paid attendance has struggled for years, and the economic meltdown that absolutely clobbered the city may have been the final blow. So are we shocked that the franchise was sold? No, not really. But just because many of us saw the writing on the wall doesn't mean that the reality of it really and truly sucks.


At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe some of their players will want to come to DC.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger fr mike said...

So sad for the fans of the Shock in Detroit. I hope they continue to follow the WNBA and their favorite players.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sad that they failed to bring in the fans. Bottem line is always money.... Makes you realize just how much you really need to support the Mystics by attending (buying tixs) the games. Sad thing for women's sports, for sure.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. That's why I've kept purchasing my Mystics tickets- even when we've hit all time lows re: mgmt/coaches, I will always support my team, the league and womens sports by purchasing my tix and attending games on the road when I can. GO MYSTICS!! --
Monica C. "Mo" Brown

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

I'm sorry to see this happen, especially for the Detroiters who supported this team. I always have fears about the future of the league when something like this happens, especially to a team that's been as success as the Shock.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big kudos to the Shock players who have taken upon themselves to host a goodbye party for the fans next week. To Nolan Richardson, who as of his recent interview on, had not even tried to contact the players, not so much.

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those women make me so damn proud to have been a fan.


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