Karl Malone, Utah Jazz forward (who has six front-row seats for the Utah Starzz): ""I decided that it was important for me as an NBA player to show my support for the ladies and what they're doing. After so many years of their having to play away from home in other countries, I thought it was the least I could do.
""The first few weeks were tough; the ball handling wasn't that great, and the offense suffered a great deal. But things have really picked up since then. You can't forget the pressure all those women are under with this being the first season. I know as a marquee player how much that pressure can affect your game.
""Now I am going to play politician and appeal to both the WNBA and the ABL to join forces. It would be great, and the power of both leagues together would be tremendous. That would give each team more marquee players. People love to see big names, and the NBA is a perfect example of that. Lastly, I love the influence the game is having on my girls [age 4 and 5]. When they watch me play, I don't think they feel like Daddy is doing something they can do. But when my wife and I take them to see the Starzz, they're beaming because I think they see themselves on the court. And that's priceless, as a parent, to see your children be inspired.''
Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls small forward: ""I think the game takes a while to get used to on this level. Most rookie players in [the NBA] don't explode overnight, and the same rule should apply here. The schedule these women have is a big difference for those who played overseas, because over there you may just play one game a week. From what I've seen the crowd has really been into it, and that's always motivating.''
Isiah Thomas, Toronto Raptors executive vice president: ""I am particularly impressed by how much the ladies have the fundamentals down. As a former player and a manager of a team, that's what you look for. Women are not going to jump as high or block as hard [as men], but that doesn't change the game or the fact that crowds seem to be enjoying themselves. A lot of people have said that the two leagues should merge, but for now two leagues mean more jobs for the women who want to play. Speaking as a minority, it's even more satisfying to see women have the chance to follow their dreams. I've heard little jokes about the league and its lesbian population, but I think that's foolish and silly. We've progressed too far for that.''
Jeff Van Gundy, New York Knicks head coach: ""I had a team that had seven new players last year, and I know how long it took for those guys to gel. So you can imagine how hard it was for an entire team to gel for such a short season. I think they're competitive when it comes to offense, but I've been more impressed by their defense. The coaching has certainly been tops. Also, there's a different feeling at the women's games, which I think is great. The WNBA crowd isn't as critical as the NBA crowd.''