The WNBA's Personalized Merch Boxes for Drafted Players Are Extremely Cool
The COVID-19 pandemic has dashed the athletic dreams of many individuals since March, with college basketball players among the most affected. Shutdowns wiped out the NCAA men's and women's tournaments, but the latter’s group of stars received a boost on Friday. In conjunction with its virtual draft, the WNBA sent merch boxes to draft prospects, along with hats representing the league’s 12 franchises.
In an unprecedented year, the @WNBA is innovating to make the players feel special and connected with Commissioner @CathyEngelbert This is NEXT level WELCOME package. The players also received all 12 team hats so they will be ready when they are selected! SO CREATIVE. pic.twitter.com/7kjXd9nWwY
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) April 17, 2020
In a move we expect the NBA will duplicate come June if restrictions on large social gatherings remain, the WNBA let impending draftees know that it awaits the chance to observe their professional contributions to the game of basketball. According to SB Nation, when opening their merch boxes, draftees such as top pick Sabrina Ionescu saw the aforementioned hats, shirts and what it dubs “keys to the league” that are attached to key rings. The boxes themselves include a QR code players can scan to view a personalized message from commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
Ionescu, who was drafted by the New York Liberty, and her 35 fellow draftees now must wait to see when their season will begin. But through the giveaways, they know that Engelbert and their respective organizations will look to welcome them.
Engelbert finds herself in the news as well, along with her contemporary in the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver, since their leagues’ combined 42 teams are selling branded face masks in the fight against the pandemic. All proceeds will go to hunger relief efforts, with Kathy Bertens, the NBA’s president for social responsibility and player programs noting that by wearing the masks, NBA and WNBA fans will adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation for people to cover their noses and mouths when in public and will be “…joining in the leagues’ efforts to aid those who have been directly affected by COVID-19.”