NEW YORK— Leading representatives of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation announced Wednesday that the month of October would officially be known as WNBA Awareness Month, and commemorated the occasion by donating $80 million of their funds to promote the early detection and ultimate eradication of the all-female basketball league.
Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker of the Komen Foundation was accompanied at the press conference by WNBA survivor Rebecca Lobo, long-suffering WNBA president Donna Orender, and Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie, who has been battling the league for 11 years.
Brinker noted that the WNBA has always been a primary concern for the breast cancer community, and said she is committed to using the full force of her breast cancer organization to rid the nation of the dreadful professional league at its every stage—from its earliest possible appearance in training camp, to preseason and the playoffs, and even during its more-invasive Finals stage when the league is at its most aggressive.
"What we plan to do this October is start a national dialogue about the WNBA," said Brinker, wearing the orange ribbon she introduced that morning to signify the fight against the league. "What is the WNBA? Who is primarily affected? Is somebody you love, be it your daughter or your wife, causing you to suffer through it? Why, despite going into annual remission, does it reoccur every year, seemingly without warning? How can we be more vigilant and nip this thing in the bud before the season even starts?"
"The sooner we address these questions, the sooner we can fulfill our vision of a WNBA-free world," she added.
According to a report compiled by the nation's top breast cancer awareness organizations, the most frightening aspect of the WNBA is how many people, especially its players, are unfamiliar with the warning signs of the league. Because of this ignorance, the report states, the WNBA can be difficult to detect early, often appearing no more malignant than a woman's college basketball game.
However, upon closer examination, significant abnormalities become apparent: cells of fans clumped together in an otherwise empty arena causing a discharge of uninspired cheers; the league's orange-and-white ball appearing discolored (which, experts say, often leads to humiliation amongst those who play with it); and fatiguing spells of missed shots and boring layups that only metastasize as the season goes further along.
"The main thing that people need to know is that even though the WNBA moves slowly and methodically, it will continue to spread if it's ignored," said Samantha Gallagher, president of the Northeastern Breast Cancer Coalition. "Before you know it, a full-blown professional women's basketball team will have developed in Toronto, and at that point the odds of fighting it are slim to none."
Gallagher added that statistics indicate the WNBA is the second leading killer of interest in professional sports in the United States behind Major League Soccer.
In 2007 alone, she said, 320,000 people finally succumbed to the WNBA.
"The fact that I am standing here today is a miracle," former New York Liberty forward Rebecca Lobo told reporters. "When I first noticed the small crowds, the poor television ratings, and the overall lack of support, I thought it was all my fault, which I now know was ridiculous. But even though the league ravaged my entire mind and body, I never curled up in a ball and asked myself, 'Why me?' I just kept on playing."
"Now I hope that, by spreading awareness, I can warn little girls everywhere about how harmful the WNBA can be," Lobo added. "Hopefully nobody will ever again have to suffer the way I did."