WNBA President Lisa Borders views job as platform that can empower women

Lisa Borders, who is midway into her second season as WNBA president, is uniquely qualified to lead the league, which started play in 1997 and brings its All-Star Game to Seattle on Saturday.

To understand why Lisa Borders advocates with the passion of a minister in her role as WNBA president, it’s best to start at the beginning.

The year she was born — in 1957 — the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on her grandfather’s lawn.

“I don’t remember that because I was a baby,” Borders said. “But I have long understood the notion of people being fearful of one another because they basically didn’t understand that we are all cut from the same cloth. … So fast forward to the 21st century and me having the privilege of leading the WNBA. Women are perhaps equally disenfranchised by the culture in which we find ourselves.

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“Often misogynistic. Often dismissive. Often unequal. Often disparaging. And so I find myself walking in the shadow of my paternal grandfather, trying to lift an organization and group of people that is disenfranchised and who deserve to have their voices fully heard and fully vetted and they deserve to have equal opportunity to prosper and to thrive. It’s just that simple.”

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Borders, who is midway into her second season as WNBA president, is uniquely qualified to lead the league, which started play in 1997 and brings its All-Star Game to Seattle on Saturday.

She grew up during the 1960s in the segregated South, where racial tensions were deep rooted.

Her grandfather, the Rev. William Borders, was an influential minister at the Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta and a civil-rights pioneer who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“He wasn’t Dr. King to me or to the people who worked, lived, prayed and played on Auburn Avenue,” said Borders, who celebrates her 60th birthday in…

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