February 20 -
Just this week, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that
former professional basketball player Donna Orender is taking over as the second
WNBA President in league history
. As the WNBA enters its ninth season, Orender
takes the reins of the most successful women's professional sports league in the
country. She was previously Senior Vice President of the PGA TOUR.
was an All-American basketball player at Queens College of New York and played
professionally for the New York Stars, New Jersey Gems and Chicago Hustle of the
Women's Basketball League (WBL) where she was an All-Star. She entered the business
of sports, and for the past seventeen years has been associated with the PGA TOUR
where she has overseen worldwide management of PGA TOUR television and production,
advertising, brand management and integration. She was also responsible for the
PGA TOUR new media and internet business.
So can Diana
Taurasi be the next Tiger Woods? Orender is ready to get started and was eager
to reach out to the fans immediately and hear what you have to say. She joined
us for the first time as president to chat and answer your questions on Sunday,
February 20 just before tip-off of the NBA All-Star Game in Denver.
(Sacramento): What was it like playing in the WBL? What were some of the highlights
and some of the funniest experiences?
Orender: It was fantastic playing in the WBL. Having been an athlete and being
able to compete at the highest level in a professional league at that point was
a dream I never dreamed to have. I don't know if it was the funniest experience,
but one of my most memorable was playing in Houston at the old Summit and I went
diving for a loose ball and literally fell off the floor because it was a raised
floor, and it took me out of action for about six to eight weeks.
Hi, I'm so glad that someone so accomplished as yourself will be
taking over. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge your first year as
the WNBA president? Donna
Thank you so much, Maya, for your vote of confidence. The biggest
challenge when you take over any business is to have a good understanding of what
your challenges are. As we sit here today, I think we can take a great deal of
pride in the quality of the WNBA athlete and franchises and I think one of our
jobs is to make sure that more people have the opportunity to know about them
and and experience them. And I hope you're available to help us.
What will you be trying to do gain more fans, make a profit finally for
the league, and which cities will be able to get a team in the future? Donna
Hi Karen. Thank you for your very insightful questions. Clearly you've
hit on several of the key questions that we'll be focusing on. I'm going to ask
that you give me a little time to find my desk and the bathroom, at which time
we'll revisit your questions. And I'm sure you're a Mystics fan, so I thank you
for your support.
How exactly did you become the new wnba president? Donna
When David Stern knocks on your door, you listen.
What do you see in the future for the WNBA? Donna
I see a league that is a great entertainment value for all of its
fans, I see a group of athletes that not only deliver a great entertainment value
but also life values for young women, young girls, young boys and families all
over the world. And I see a league that can help connect sponsors and advertisers
to their consumer base in a very meaningful way. I see it as a very exciting experience
and I hope that you'll join us in it as we look to grow.
How did being an athlete help prepare you for your leadership
roles on the other side with the PGA, and now the WBNA? Donna
Hi Randy. Competing at the highest level in sports taught me the
fundamentals of how to succeed in business. No. 1 was about absolute commitment
-- if you want to be the best, you've got to focus on being the best and put in
the time to be the best. No 2. taught me about determination -- that clearly the
easiest path between you and the basket was not easy at all, and if I was going
to get there, I was going to be more determined than anyone else was to stop me.
And lastly, it taught me about passion and joy, that when you really love what
you're doing, you ability to succeed grows exponentially. Thanks for your question,
Donna, Congratulations and best of luck as the new president of the WNBA!! There
are ALOT of us in Nashville that are WNBA fans. Any talk of a team coming here?
Thanks! :) Donna
Love the city of Nashville! I have a wonderful step daughter that
lives there. I know that we have plans to expand, but a this point I can't specifically
address Nashville, but if you would proactively like to grow your group of prospective
fans, we'd love to hear from you. Until then, we hope you'll continue to tune
in to the WNBA as we enter our ninth season. Donna
For all of you who have written in questions, I want to thank you.
For all of you fans who show an interest for the WNBA, I want to encourage you
to continue your support. You are important to us at the WNBA. We're going to
work hard to continue to make you proud to be a fan. So, in closing, while many
of you would like to know what we're going to do to market, we'd like to invite
you to help, so go tell your friends and have them tell their friends and have
them tell their friends and...