Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

What Media Sex Appeal Means for Skylar Diggins

Skylar Diggins attends 2013 BET Awards (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Skylar Diggins attends 2013 BET Awards (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

How things have changed in women's basketball since the "nappy-headed hos" controversy. Colorlines' Jamilah King examines the media's current fixation with the looks of the No. 3 pick in the WNBA draft. 

Six years ago, the biggest story in women's basketball was about Don Imus calling the predominantly black Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy headed hos." Now Skylar Diggins, the number three pick in Monday night's WNBA draft, represents the opposite side of the coin. She's a black female player who's still judged by her looks, but this time favorably. In fact, thanks to social media, the point guard drafted by the Tulsa Shock has become a sex symbol.

Diggins, who holds the women's scoring record for her alma mater, Notre Dame, was relatively unknown outside of basketball circles until last year's NCAA tournament. At the time Lil' Wayne tweeted to Diggins calling her his wife and wishing good luck to her team. Chris Brown followed with a tweet of his own, and soon the South Bend, Ind., had a national profile. She currently has over 300,000 followers on Twitter, and fans consistently post messages like, "OMG your [sic] the most beautiful baller I [sic] ever seen" and "Forget WNBA you could be a runway model."

The testosterone-driven media circus surrounding Diggins certainly hasn't helped. We don't hear how she's a former McDonald's All-American who turned down perennial powerhouse Stanford to play in front of her family, or that she's led her team to three Final Four appearances. Instead, there are entire ESPN columns about Diggins' "sovereign skills and supreme attractiveness."


Read Jamilah King's entire piece at Colorlines.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter