As the WNBA gears up for their 20th season next year, the league will find itself without president Laurel J. Richie for the first time since 2011 as the innovator steps down after five seasons. “We thank Laurel for her five seasons of service and commitment to the WNBA and wish her success in her future endeavors,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner, Mark Tatum, in a press release.
Richie will be leaving her historic legacy behind at the WNBA, as she was the first African-American to conduct a major sports league and will plan on focusing primarily on serving as an avid board member for numerous for-profit and non-profit institutions to promote advocacy amongst young girls.
“I am proud of what the WNBA has been able to accomplish during my tenure and am grateful for the opportunity to play my part in setting the stage for the 20th season and beyond,” Richie shares. “I was fortunate to work with some very special people, from owners, to league and team staff, to the passionate fans of the WNBA, to the incredibly talented WNBA athletes. I will forever be a fan of the WNBA and a champion for all it stands for.”
Richie’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed over the years as she has broken multiple barriers in welcoming the LGBT community within the league with WNBA Pride, closing in on the longest Collective Bargaining Agreement in league history, and extending the WNBA’s partnership with ESPN throughout 2025. And that’s just to name a few. Tatum will take temporarily take over for Richie as the league searches for a new president but without any doubt, whoever’s next up will indeed have some big shoes to fill.