Jesse Eisenberg has been living in Bloomington, Indiana for the past six months and recently visited Indiana University. It was there the actor became enlightened about a sport that unfortunately flies under the radar: women's basketball.
"I'm a lifelong NBA fan, but I have never watched a WNBA game, nor a women's college game," Eisenberg wrote for InStyle, going on to admit that he "harbored the kind of naive assumption" that there was no way it could be on the same level as how the guys play. That was, of course, before Eisenberg sat through the exciting pre-game.
"Their style of play is team-oriented, not superstar driven like the NBA," the 33-year-old wrote. "They pass first, set complicated plays, shoot only when open; for a basketball fan, it was like traveling back in time to a pure, graceful, fundamental game."
Eisenberg had only exceptional things to say about the starting players and their fearless leader, Coach Teri Moren. The Oscar-nominated actor said he's well aware of writings that point out the disparity between men's and women's basketball and, after experiencing it for himself, isn't sure why the female version is so underappreciated than its attention-grabbing male counterpart.
"Some of the things that guys don't have to do in order to succeed, we have to do," Moren explained. "They're taller, more athletic, anticipate better, are quicker laterally. For us to be successful and to make the big things happen, we have to do the little things really, really well."
One of the things Moren's team is doing that big names often don't is connecting with their fans. Eisenberg points out that, while the biggest stars in the sport put out shoe lines for their fans to buy and feel a connection, these women are spending time on the court after home games to meet their fans and inspire the next generation of female players.
Beyond learning to appreciate women's basketball, Eisenberg said he's found a "hotbed for community activism" and enjoyed being a part of "this energetic and compassionate community" — something he notes he hasn't experienced coming from New York City, where he's from.