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Topic: Advocacy - June 10 2024
Cameron Brink: Sparking Change in the WNBA

From her collegiate journey at Stanford University to her current endeavors as a WNBA rookie, Cameron Brink’s story inspires us to use our platforms for positive change. Join us as we dive into Brink’s dedication to advocacy off the court.

By: Eden Horton

VIS Creator

Topic: Advocacy

June 10 2024

Last night, the Los Angeles Sparks took on the Las Vegas Aces in a Western Conference battle. Despite an early 14-0 deficit, the Sparks battled back to secure a 96-92 victory. Rookie Cameron Brink played an important role in the win, with 5 blocks, 8 points, and 6 rebounds. Brink has played standout defense so far this season, averaging the third-most blocks in the WNBA. Notably, in the Sparks’ first win of the 2024 WNBA season, Brink posted a game winning block to protect a lead over the Washington Mystics. 

Although she’s only two months into her WNBA career, Brink is already making waves – not only with her stats on the court, but also with her VOICE off of it. The Sparks rookie is showing us how to leverage our platforms to advocate for inclusivity and VISibility. 

Finding Her VOICE at Stanford

During Brink’s freshman year at Stanford, she helped the team to their first NCAA championship since 1992. She continued to have a strong impact on the team’s performance, leading the team in points as a sophomore and junior, and winning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award as a senior. 

In college, Brink began to use her VOICE through initiatives such as All Vote No Play, which promotes civic engagement amongst student-athletes. Her efforts in college laid the groundwork for her continued activism in the WNBA, highlighting her commitment to using her platform for positive change both on and off the court.

Brink’s Commitment to Uplifting the WNBA

In a recent interview with Uproxx, Brink shared her vision for a more inclusive and celebrated WNBA. When asked about her ultimate goal, Brink shared, “I will not rest until the W is even more iconic than it is now.” 

She went on to discuss the importance of representation within the WNBA, saying, “I will acknowledge there’s a privilege for the younger white players of the league. That’s not always true, but there is a privilege that we have inherently, and the privilege of appearing feminine. Some of my teammates are more masculine. Some of my teammates go by they/them pronouns. I want to bring more acceptance to that and not just have people support us because of the way that we look.”

Brink’s call for inclusivity resonates deeply within a league characterized by its racial and LGBTQ+ diversity, positioning her as a strong proponent for acceptance in women's sports. In 2023, 63.8% of WNBA players were Black, and in 2022, nearly 30% identified as queer, highlighting a significant presence of minorities in the league. Compared to other professional women’s leagues such as the NWSL, the WNBA is notably diverse, making Brink’s advocacy for acceptance of all identities within the league even more important.

“I hope the vets know that it’s because of them that we’re here now.”

Cameron Brink, WNBA rookie for the Los Angeles Sparks

Why Brink’s VOICE Matters

In a recent appearance on Podcast P with Paul George, Brink talked about the impact of legendary Sparks center Lisa Leslie, saying “she’s one of my biggest idols.” Leslie has used her VOICE during and after her career to advocate for equality, likely influencing Brink to do the same. Despite her position as a rookie, Brink’s VOICE also carries significant weight in the WNBA. Her actions and advocacy set a powerful example for the next generation of girls and women in sports, showing us the importance of using our VOICES to create VISibility.

Changing the Narrative about Rookies Versus the Vets

Brink has also used her VOICE to counteract damaging narratives about the WNBA community. In recent months, with the influx of rookie talent, there has been a persistent narrative pinning rookies against veterans. In her interview with Uproxx, Brink identified this as the “most tired narrative,” emphasizing the community that has been built in the WNBA. 

The league’s current CBA, established in 2020, created an “equitable revenue-sharing model based on league revenue growth,” showing the WNBA’s commitment to building an equitable community. And when the WNBA turned to a bubble format for the 2020 COVID-19 season, the league’s commitment to social justice and maternity policies was on full display. Brink’s advocacy not only combats divisive storylines, but also reinforces the unity within the WNBA community and uplifting women as athletes, mothers, and people, contributing to its established cohesion. 

Brink’s Mentorship Efforts and Advice

In addition to her vocal advocacy, Brink’s commitment to mentoring young players through her camp Next 22 is a testament to her dedication to guiding the next generation of girls. Through this initiative, she provides coaching and mentorship to Oregon’s youth, inspiring them to reach their full potential. 

With a 139% rise in young girls tuning into WNBA Tip-Off Week this year, there are many eyes on the league, making calls for inclusivity even more important. Brink's unwavering commitment to using her VOICE for positive change teaches us the importance of speaking out against injustice and standing up for what we believe in. As women in girls in sport, we should feel empowered to continue breaking barriers by making our VOICES heard. Let’s embrace this momentum and inspire one another to promote VISibility for women in sports. 

Take Action

To learn more from a WNBA star, check out this upcoming session with Ariel Atkins!