The WNBA Draft will be held as scheduled, virtually, on April 17th.
League commissioner Cathy Engelbart made the announcement in a press release last Thursday. This news comes, of course, on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic altering scheduled events around the world, in sports as well as all other fields. The draft will be televised on ESPN at 7pm ET, and will include a tribute to the late Gianna Bryant, as well as her teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester. The evening will also include interviews with top prospects over video chat.
This is the first time a major American sports league has held an event as major as a draft remotely, over video conference, and it will be interesting to see how it works, and frankly, how it doesn’t. While it is disappointing that the moment that say, Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu is drafted may be marred by technical errors; WNBA fans need to be patient. We need to understand that the league is doing everything it can to give these talented young players their moment to shine after coronavirus caused the NCAA tournament to be cancelled.
A bright spot in this is that 2020 marks the second time that the WNBA Draft will be broadcast on ESPN rather than one of its little sister networks, i.e., ESPN2 or ESPNU. And with very little else going on in the sports world, plenty of folks should be tuning in to get an introduction to the next great names of women’s professional basketball. Right? Come on. You’re not doing anything else.
Hopefully, this won’t be all we see of the 2020 WNBA season, with some fans concerned that shelter in place mandates will be in place through the span of what would be the season, into August or September. For the sake of all of our sanities, and for the careers of WNBA players, rookies and older veterans, I hope this is not the case.
Remember, you can tune into the WNBA Draft on April 17th at 7pm eastern, on ESPN.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.