Is Bikini Basketball the Sexiest Sport on Earth?

Normally I don't get worked up about stuff like this, so why does the Bikini Basketball League feel like such a violation?
Publish date:
October 10, 2012
sexism, feminism, dowatchalike, maybe I am a feminist after all?, wnba, bikini basketball

While I fully support the concept that all one has to do in order to have a “Bikini Body” is put a bikini on her body, I also fully support the concept that for many of us, actually doing so can be cringe-inducing at best, terrifying at worst. I tend to fall more in the former category, though usually by two or three beers, I let it go. Alcohol: it’s what’s for breakfast on beach days!

Here’s the thing though: because I’m not uber-comfortable in a bikini, I only wear mine in places where a bikini is widely viewed as “appropriate.” Like say, on the beach. Or by a pool. In a boat, perhaps. Or, you know: on the basketball court.

Wait. What?

Oh yeah. Bikini basketball. It’s about to be a thing. Get stoked. Or don’t.

According to the website (which has yet to officially launch), “The Bikini Basketball Association is coming soon. The league is for Sexy Athletic Ladies from around the world.” And they have several teams already. Teams with groan-inducing names like: Miami Spice, New York Knockouts, Hollywood Hotties, Orlando Lady Cats, L.A. Ice, and Chicago Desire. Does anyone else kind of feel like they just gave up after “Lady Cats?” Me-ouch. (Sorry, Jane. I can’t help it.)

And the good news if you’ve got hoops skills and a sexy body? They’re accepting applications. Just email And yes, “looking good in a bikini” is a prerequisite as per the @BikiniBall Twitter account. And no, they don’t mean “looking good in a bikini” or “sexy body” in the way we wish they did. They mean being "traditionally" skinny with big boobs. Trust me, I’m super good at translating “dude.”

When I first picked up this story, my immediate inclination was to throw on a bikini and make my way to a local basketball court. “Anyone up for a game of Horse?” I’d ask while bending over to tighten my shoelaces. After all, what better way to write a story than to actually live it?

But then I thought of all the guys turning and running and screaming, like a scene out of a horror movie, and I decided that, at least in my case, Horse is a game better played while fully clothed.

But hey. That’s my personal choice. I like to play sports in clothes. Preferably lots of clothes, like a wetsuit or snowboarding jacket. Unless it’s tennis in which case, bring on the tennis skirt, the most flattering piece of sporting apparel ever invented. I mean, everyone knows by now that I only take tennis lessons so I can run errands while wearing my little blue skirt and white Rod Laver’s.

Alas, I digress. Here’s the thing: I support the idea of women being able to choose pretty much whatever they want to do for a living. Want to get paid to have sex? Fine. Want to dance naked on a pole? Great. Want to grease yourself up and mud wrestle another chick while wearing only a thong? Have fun.

Yes, I am okay with women who choose to make their living this way, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes it bums me out.

Sex sells, I get it. But I guess I wish the myriad of other amazing things women have to offer were just as marketable. Like our intellect, wit, business-savvy, ability to nurture, creativity, determination, etc. It’s not that it bothers me that sex sells, per se; it’s that sex just seems to sell so much better than almost everything else. And so a lot of women choose to go that route. And who can blame them? Or would even want to? Frankly, more times than not, it’s what makes sense.

The thing that bums me out about the Bikini Basketball League is that it sexualizes and therefore popularizes something the majority of men otherwise shun: women’s basketball. Let’s face it: the WNBA isn’t exactly a well-liked sport these days. It just had its lowest average regular-season attendance (7457 fans a game) since its inception in 1997. It’s become a “social and moral obligation,” rather than a “hip destination.” The majority of men attending WNBA games are those with young daughters. It’s just not viewed as a compelling competitive sport by the masses.

But despite the fact that it’s more or less proven that the majority of men don’t find women’s basketball compelling enough to actually watch a WNBA game -– a PROFESSIONAL league with TALENTED players -- the Bikini Basketball League feels strongly that those same men will definitely tune in when women with lesser skills play in skimpier outfits. Put ‘em in thongs, they’ll show up in throngs. Or something.

Maybe I’m thinking about it too much. Perhaps I shouldn’t let it depress me. After all, it is what it is. This is America. We have a Lingerie Football League, why wouldn’t Bikini Basketball follow after? There’s just something about the fact that men will only pay attention to women in certain situations if they’re half naked that gets to me.

I want to tell myself that no one’s hurt by any of it, not the WNBA players who wear modest uniforms, not the little girls who want to play b-ball when they get older, not the women who are profiting off of their bodies, not the men who encourage all of this, not the average women like you and me who live in a society where we’re taught that the sexier we are, the more visible we are, not anyone.

But I guess I’m just having a hard time believing what I’m selling.