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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nike Basketball Ignores WNBA in Since-Deleted ‘Week Without Hoops’ Post

  • The company posted a lament about a week without hoops after the NBA Western Conference finals ended.
  • The WNBA, of which Nike is an investor, has 16 games before the NBA Finals start.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) talks to Seattle Storm guard Victoria Vivians (35) following being run into after making a three-pointer, Thursday, May 30, 2024, during the WNBA game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Joe Timmerman/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

After the Mavericks beat the Timberwolves in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night, the X account for Nike’s basketball division posted: “And that’s that… a week without hoops smh,” accompanied by the exasperated upside-down smiley face emoji.

The post was quickly deleted, but not before it caught backlash from women’s basketball fans and media members, who pointed out that the WNBA will still be playing during that time. The WNBA has 16 games scheduled before Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off, including Saturday’s Sky-Fever matchup on ESPN: The much-anticipated debut of Kamilla Cardoso and the first pro battle between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese. 

“A league investor tweeting that there’s a week without hoops when there is a full slate of WNBA games is wild,” posted women’s basketball media personality Khristina Williams.

Nike became an equity investor in the WNBA in 2022. The company is one of the league’s Changemakers, a small number of major corporate backers whose investment has a specific goal in mind. Nike marketed its partnership as a “deepening” of WNBA storytelling and raising the profile of female athletes.

Nike did not immediately respond to Front Office Sports’ request for comment.

The post was surprising given Nike Basketball’s attention to the women’s game. Its bio and cover image on X are dedicated to the upcoming drop of A’ja Wilson’s signature shoe, and it also recently posted three times about Sabrina Ionescu and once about Jewell Loyd. Not to mention, Nike just signed Clark to a reported $28 million deal that will include a signature shoe.

Under Armour Basketball made a dig at Nike’s error Friday morning. “And that’s that…another week WITH hoops,” the account posted along with a winking emoji. Under Armour’s WNBA roster includes Kelsey Plum—who originally signed to Nike when she was drafted—Diamond Miller, and Marina Mabrey.

If anything, it was a forgetful mistake by the account’s social media manager caught up in the NBA playoffs. But the response is a testament to the popularity of the WNBA and how insinuating that pro basketball encompasses only the NBA no longer flies.

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