“With the light that I have now as a White woman who leads a Black-led sport and celebrated here, I want to shed a light on Black women,” said Bueckers, the reigning national player of the year. “They don’t get the media coverage that they deserve. They’ve given so much to the sport, the community and society as a whole and their value is undeniable.”
The 19-year-old sophomore said that last season in the WNBA, 80% of the post-season awards were won by Black players, but they got half the amount of coverage of the White athletes.
“I think it’s time for change. Sports media holds the key to storylines. Sports media and sponsors tell us who is valuable, and you have told the world that I mattered today, and everyone who voted, thank you. But I think we should use this power together to also celebrate Black women.”
She went on to acknowledge other Black women trailblazers.
“To Maria Taylor, Robin Roberts, Maya Moore, Odicci Alexander. To all the incredible Black women in my life and on my teams. To Breonna Taylor and all the lives lost, and to those names who are not yet learned, but I hope to share, I stand behind you and I continue to follow you, follow your lead and fight for you guys so I just want to say thank you for everything,” she said.
In her speech, Bueckers also thanked her family, friends, coaches and teammates.
“I’m standing on this stage alone, but without them I wouldn’t have this award. They’ve sacrificed so much for me,” she said.
As a freshman guard for the storied UConn team, Bueckers averaged 20 points and over five assists a game, leading the Huskies to a stellar 28-2 record and a trip to the Final Four. She won the John Wooden Award after the season as the best women’s college basketball player, the first freshman to win the honor.