9 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About the WNBA ????

Good news, b-ball lovers! The WNBA playoffs begin tonight.

In honor of the occasion, we're celebrating with some lesser-known facts about the stellar women's professional basketball league.

Scroll below and see how many of these nine fast, fun facts you did or didn't know.

WNBA basketball

(via Shutterstock)

1. Sheryl Swoopes became the first-ever player to be signed by the WNBA during the 1997 inaugural season. She was signed to the Houston Comets. 

2. Sheryl was also the first WNBA player to have a shoe named after her, Nike's Air Swoopes. Nbd.

Nike Air Swoopes worn by Sheryl Swoopes • 1996 #onfootarchivesolympicweekend

A photo posted by @onfootarchives on

3. In the WNBA's first season, eight teams competed—the original franchises were located in Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah. Now the WNBA consists of 12 teams.

4. The first WNBA game took place on June 21, 1997 between the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks. The New York Liberty won the game 67-57. ????

5. In its first season, the WNBA attracted more than one million fans. That's a big fanbase!

6. Spalding–the American sporting good company–and the WNBA first introduced the league's official orange and tan game ball during the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on April 19, 1997. 

7. Betcha didn't know a regulation WNBA ball is 28.5 inches in circumference—that's only one inch smaller than an NBA ball. ????

8. The first MVP in the WNBA was Cynthia Cooper, the guard for the Houston Comets in 1997.

9. On July 30, 2002, Lisa Leslie became the first woman to dunk the ball during a WNBA game. That is one slam dunk.


Down for more b-ball fun facts? You'll have to read THESE 12 interesting tidbits about 2016's U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team.