Kareem Abdul-Jabbar congratulates Breanna Stewart for calling attention to WNBA travel issues

Top free agent Breanna Stewart's proposition to subsidize charter flights for WNBA players was met with support from all over the league and beyond. On Thursday morning, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighed in.

"Been there - done that & played at the highest levels. Today'sNBA players never had to deal with the effects of commercial travel on their bodies," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "I'm all forWNBA players getting equal rights. Congrats Breanna for raising this issue."

Stewart is in a unique position of power during this free agency. She has been utilizing emojis to communicate where she might land, as she reportedly meets with the Seattle Storm, Minnesota Lynx, Washington Mystics and New York Liberty.

The two-time WNBA champion took to Twitter on Monday to leverage her influence, writing that she “would love to be part of a deal that helps subsidize charter travel for the entire WNBA” by contributing profits from her name, image and likeness deals.

Her idea was backed up by WNBA stars like Elena Delle Donne, Chiney Ogwumike, Kahleah Copper, Layshia Clarendon, Alysha Clark and the recently retired Sue Bird. UConn forward Paige Bueckers, former NBA player and social media personality Rex Chapman and Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant also boosted the idea.

In a way, Abul-Jabbar’s co-sign is unique because it comes from someone who experienced the NBA’s commercial travel era.

‘Been there, done that’

Abdul-Jabbar became the league’s all-time leading scorer during a historic 20-year career. He’s seen some things. Still, he’s not the only NBA great to point out that today’s players will never fully understand the toll that commercial travel takes when traveling to multiple games in a week.

Fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley spoke about the issue on UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma's podcast in 2017.

"It drives me crazy when guys making $30 million are complaining about playing basketball two days in a row," he said. "We did that and we flew commercial. These guys, they never even go to the airport. I remember I'd be sleeping in the airport at 5 o'clock in the morning, traveling three hours and playing a game that day.”

Barkley added that he didn’t see private travel until the Detroit Pistons set the precedent after winning the championship in 1989.

Like Barkley, the Las Vegas Aces were forced to sleep in an airport in August 2018 after waiting six hours for their eventually canceled commercial flight. They were scheduled to play the Washington Mystics, a matchup that was also canceled an hour after tip-off was delayed.

The variables that come with commercial travel pose too much risk as the WNBA prepares for Brittney Griner's return to the league after her release from Russian prison. Stewart and the rest of the league's advocacy has the potential to build upon whatever accommodations are made.