Epic! Bird, Rapinoe, Taurasi, and Taylor entertain in marathon IG Live; best player-driven live stream ever
Live streaming from the comfort of home is nothing new for WNBA players. A decade ago, players made accounts on the original iteration of Livestream.com and posted links to their live video sessions on social media. Fans joined in to chat and ask questions on Livestream, the shiny new Internet object at the time. For example, Epiphanny Prince live-streamed her reaction to being selected in the 2010 WNBA draft from Turkey.
— Hoopfeed.com ? (@hoopfeed) April 8, 2010
Slowly, Livestream’s popularity faded among athletes out as the novelty wore off and other platforms that were accessible directly from Twitter began to thrive (remember Vine? Periscope?). Today, short-form videos (TikToks, Instagram stories) and social media platform-hosted long-form videos (on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) rule the roost.
While women’s basketball players on every level frequently use video to connect with friends and fans across the globe, the worldwide coronavirus outbreak and stay at home orders boosted the frequency of live sessions. Since the pandemic led to the cancelation of the NCAA tournament and postponement of the WNBA season, fans are left with getting their basketball fix by watching replays of old games and their favorite players on live videos.
Some live sessions are sponsored by the WNBA and colleges while others are spontaneous events that happen at odd hours started by players. Case in point: last night’s epic Instagram Live session hosted by Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, soccer star Megan Rapinoe (Bird’s girlfriend), along with the wife-wife duo of Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi and Mercury assistant coach Penny Taylor. The stream lasted over three hours.
The raucous and entertaining session featured discussions on a wide range of topics from playing in Russia, WNBA team culture, Taurasi’s ordeal of mistakenly getting a positive drug test in Turkey, relationships, the lack of support from wealthy women to elevate the WNBA and so much more. The live stream was not for the faint of heart as f-bombs and other curse words flew at a fast pace amid consuming alcohol: Bird and Rapinoe sipped from classic copper Moscow Mule mugs while Taurasi and Taylor sipped red wine. Here are some outtakes and live tweets from the stream.
Living in Russia
Bird with a comedic anecdote on her early years playing in Russia where she spent 10 offseasons:
“I say this all the time, the only times I cried in Russia was when the fucking money ran out on the Internet…It’s like their Christmas and New Year’s is different, it’s like January 1 to 11th and my money ran out. I was like, I’m sorry. What? I’m not gonna get my fucking internet for nine days. That was the only time where I wanted to like shed tears.”
Basically, before movie services and the World Wide Web, players would stock up on DVDs for the week for entertainment.
On Women Investing in Sports
Taylor chimed in that women do invest in projects that may not make a lot of money initially but not in athletics:
“Women do it they just don’t have a passion for sport.” Later she added: “We all know like women make 80% of the purchases in the household, but isn’t that like a marketing opportunity as well?”
“I feel like you need the initial one or 10 or 12 to like invest in it as like, okay, we believe in this.”
Bird on playing in the WNBA initially as opposed to playing overseas for a lot more money:
Like, none of us played for money. It wasn’t about that I didn’t even fucking think of it. It was just like you played to prove your fucking worth as a basketball player.
On the Draft
Bird on Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter (4th overall pick to Atlanta) coming into the WNBA:
She’s very Cappie-like. Everybody said that. She literally has the ability to do whatever she wants ,when she wants to do it. Right? And it’s just going to be upon her to understand when and why and what.