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bruce ha

What was the impact once the shoe came out?

People were excited, happy, shocked. Just supporters of it. Especially the fans. When someone’s weaning your shoe, you notice it. And I see them all the time. I just appreciate people getting behind me and women’s basketball in a different way.

Since then, of course, there have been a few other WNBA athletes with signature shoes. Do you feel like your deal with Puma helped break that barrier?

I hope so. Because you don’t know what the timing would have been, but because we brought signature back to the table in women’s basketball, it puts pressure on everybody. This is what we’re doing over here. If you want to elevate yourself, then come join us.

We’ve all heard that women’s basketball is having a moment. In terms of logistics, this affects your contract negotiations and broadcast deals. Do you keep a close eye on that side of the business?

Absolutely. Because after this WNBA season, we have an opportunity to opt in or opt out of this current CBA. And with that ties directly to the media rights deal—it’s around the same timing. If we have games that are doing 18 million viewers, alright, let’s lift things up a little bit more. Salaries will go up, benefits will go up. So it’s an exciting time.

Do you feel there’s generally been more attention on women’s basketball in the Olympics than in the league?

Yeah, because it’s the Olympics, you know? It’s the best of the best. Everything is high end. Everything is connected, too. This momentum that’s happening, it’s even more helpful that it’s an Olympic year. Now we have the media behind it where everything is going to be seen.

Image may contain Clothing Footwear Shoe and Sneaker

bruce ha

With all the social media buzz, has there also been an increase in attention from the traditional media?

For sure. I have definitely noticed a lot of increase in media opportunities. Everyone is kind of getting on the same page. I would say the one thing is that, because women’s sports is growing, it doesn’t mean it has to be me versus someone else. We can all kind of thrive together, because there’s so much media and viewership out there. We don’t have to choose.

Yeah, now it’s always immediately about the GOAT conversation.

For sure. And you have the fans who are the ride-or-dies and the fans that are new. But it’s a good conversation to have. I mean, that’s what you have on the men’s side—who’s going to go down as the greatest of all time. It sparks conversation, controversy, but again, it’s more people talking about women’s basketball.

Is it worth dealing with the controversy to benefit from that extra attention, though?

There are certain situations where I guess negative attention can not be good, but you can always turn it into a positive. Take chartered flights for example. There’s reasons why we haven’t had it happen yet in the WNBA. And there’s people that have other ideas behind it—people who think we don’t need it. And there’s other people who say, yeah we do. But it gets people talking. You can see someone on the street, and they ask you, how do you fly? It starts the conversation and gets the debate going.

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