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The Mystics’s WNBA Championship Is a Big Deal. Here’s Why They Won’t Have a Parade This Week

Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud holds up the trophy as they celebrate after Game 5 of basketball's WNBA Finals against the Connecticut Sun, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

There’s a new championship team in the District.

The Mystics secured the franchise’s first WNBA title in a thrilling 89-78 victory over the Connecticut Sun.

In many ways, the Mystics were a dream team—league MVP Elena Delle Donne became the first WNBA player to join the 50-40-90 club, WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman emerged after missing last season for overseas play, and the team put up record offensive stats.

Remember how the last championship celebration went in DC? After winning the Stanley Cup in 2018, the Capitals swept through the city like an overjoyed wrecking ball. In the immediate aftermath, there were swims in the Georgetown Waterfront fountain, questionable tattoos, and, of course, the victory lap around the city.

Surely the Mystics will do the same? Not quite.

Following their big win last night, the Mystics announced that they will have a celebration rally at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (1100 Oak Dr., Southeast) from 2 to 4 PM. According to the announcement, the quick turnaround on the abbreviated celebration was so the players could be honored “before they head out of town and join their international teams.”

The Mystics later announced that they would be holding a victory parade in the spring to commemorate the win. According to the press release, further details about the parade will be released at a later date.

The reality is that the WNBA is a five-month league for many of these players. It’s not uncommon for players to head overseas after the WNBA season ends, both for practical and financial reasons—playing for a European team in the offseason keeps them in shape, but also acts as a secondary source of income. According to data by Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops, the highest paid player on the team this season is Meesseman, who made $117,500. However, many players on the team make between $40,000 and $50,000.

Ahead of this season, guard Natasha Cloud talked to Washingtonian about gender inequity in sports and society as a whole. “Women are at the forefront because we’re fed up,” Cloud said. “For us it started out with our CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and opting out of it. We’re fighting.”

This year, the Mystics won’t have a parade in the immediate aftermath of their win. However, the league and players are currently negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. If things go the players’ way, it’s possible that some of these kinds of logistical problems might not arise for next year’s victors. 

With WNBA stars on the offensive in labor negotiations, next year’s victors might not have to delay their celebration because of their second jobs.

This post has been updated to reflect the announcement of a spring parade by the Mystics.

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Editorial Fellow

Madeline Rundlett is an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She previously covered All-Met sports for the Washington Post and was an editorial intern at The Hill. Madeline graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in Political Communication in 2019.