WNBA superstar and Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie will be the first female athlete honored with a statue outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Arash Markazi reported the news, writing that the Los Angeles Sparks and Anschutz Entertainment Group still have to iron out the specific date but agreed Leslie will be the 11th statue outside of the famed sports and entertainment arena. Leslie’s statue will also be the first of a WNBA player outside of a team’s home arena.
Lisa Leslie is going to get a statue outside of Staples Center. The Sparks and AEG will talk about the specifics soon but it will be the 11th in Star Plaza and the first honoring a female athlete. It will be the first statue of a WNBA player outside the home arena of a WNBA team. pic.twitter.com/nw7YdDh30u
According to bleacherreport.com, Leslie went to the Sparks in the WNBA’s inaugural draft in 1997 and played her entire career with the team through 2009. During her professional basketball career, Leslie won three league MVPs, two championships, four Olympic gold medals and three All-Star Game MVPs .
Leslie, who was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game, was also named to eight All-Star teams and 12 All-WNBA teams, including eight first-team selections. In addition to her WNBA achievements, she once scored 101 points in a half during a game for Morningside High in Inglewood, and was named first-team all-conference in each of her four seasons at USC.
Leslie will now be forever memorialized alongside statues of Los Angeles legends such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Lisa Borders has spent the last three seasons leading the WNBA but just announced on Tuesday that she is stepping down from her post to become the first president and CEO of the advocacy group Time’s Up.
The league, which is a subsidiary of the NBA, made the announcement in a tweet on Tuesday morning.
“It has been an honor and my absolute privilege leading the WNBA and being part of what it stands for,” Borders said in a joint statement with the NBA. “I want to thank [NBA Commissioner] Adam [Silver] for giving me the opportunity and support to help grow this league.
“I am most proud of the players for their amazing talents on the court and their dedication to making an impact in their communities. I look forward to continuing my support for the W in my new role with Time’s Up. I will always be the WNBA’s biggest advocate and fan.”
Time’s Up was formed in January after a series of sexual harassment allegations in the entertainment industry involving Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis CK, Matt Lauer, and others. The organization advocates for safer and more equitable work environments for women in Hollywood and in other industries.
The organization is also pushing for Hollywood to reach gender pay equity. Borders had overseen the WNBA since 2016 after serving as Coca-Cola’s Vice President of Global Community Affairs.
“We are extremely grateful for Lisa’s leadership and tireless commitment to the WNBA,” Silver said. “This is a natural transition for Lisa knowing what a champion she is for issues involving women’s empowerment and social justice and fortunately for us, she leaves the league with strong tail winds propelling it forward.”
Under Borders, the WNBA inked a new jersey deal with Nike, signed an agreement with Twitter to stream games on the social media platform and helped bring women to into the NBA Live video games for the first time through a deal with EA Sports.
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will serve as interim WNBA president while the search for a new president begins.
TIME’S UP is actively working with various industries including advertising, entertainment, healthcare, press, tech, music, venture, and advocacy groups representing farmworkers, restaurant workers, domestic workers to ensure safer workplaces and economic parity for women.
Under Border’s stewardship, TIME’S UP will continue its focus on creating solutions that increase safety and equity at work for women of all kinds.
After a fruitful career on the hardwood, former Washington Mystics player, Tamara James, plans to take her talents back to her hometown.
The 32-year-old activist was recently named mayor of her old stomping grounds, Dania Beach, Fla., Broward County’s “oldest community” the Miami Herald reports.
In a statement issued to the SunSentinel, James thanked her supporters for furthering her dreams of enacting change in her community. “I plan on being a voice for our residents, promoting smart economic growth and unifying us as a city… I’m looking forward to winning championships for the oldest city in Broward County.”
NEW YORK — The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams and players who showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warm-up shirts before games.
WNBA president Lisa Borders applauds the league’s players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court. Borders said in a statement Saturday that the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”
Borders also tweeted her support for the players.
Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support.
Each organization had been fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.
The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
“It’s a huge win overall,” said Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, who is president of the WNBA players’ union. “I think more than anything I told [Borders] at times you’re going to agree to disagree. With this, I’m really proud of the players standing strong and for utilizing their voices. Change starts with us. We have a social responsibility as well.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday that his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”
The Liberty wore the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday against Washington. Indiana and Phoenix donned the shirts Tuesday night before their nationally televised game.
“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” Liberty president Isiah Thomas said. “We are also very proud of our players; the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”
The fines were administered Wednesday, and neither the Fever nor the Liberty wore the shirts at their matinee game Thursday. Tina Charles did wear her warm-up shirt inside-out in honor of a shooting in Florida that morning.
Charles said she was happy that the league rescinded the fines. She has donated her entire salary this year to her charity — Hopey’s Heart Foundation — so the withdrawn fine means more money that will help buy automated external defibrillators. Still, she said it was “embarrassing” that the players had been fined in the first place.
According to usatoday.com, the National Basketball Association has hired longtime marketing executive Pamela El as its chief marketing officer, two years after she was named one of the 100 most influential women in advertising
El will join the league on Aug. 18 and be responsible for brand development and will oversee marketing and advertising for the NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League. El has worked 30 years in marketing, most recently with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
“Having personally worked with Pam for many years on the NBA’s partnership with State Farm, she will be a huge addition as we work to build our brand on a global scale,” NBA Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum said in an e-mailed release.
The NBA had $5.5 billion in revenue last season. The league’s international presence includes games and programming in 215 countries and territories, according to the release.
An investment group led by Magic Johnson and controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark R. Walter,has bought the WNBA franchise Los Angeles Sparks. The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors have unanimously approved the sale. The investment group includes Dodger co-owners Todd L. Boehly, Robert L. Patton and Stan Kasten.
The franchise will remain in Los Angeles and play at Staples Center. The WNBA’s 2014 game and television schedule will also be announced this week. “We are thrilled to welcome Magic Johnson and Mark Walter to the WNBA,” said WNBA president Laurel J. Richie. “With their proven track record in the business realm, their commitment to the city of Los Angeles through civic engagement, and their passion for the game of basketball, we look forward to partnering with our new owners to usher in a new era for this iconic team. This is a great day for Los Angeles, the Sparks franchise, its players, and of course, the loyal fans who have been so supportive of the team for 17 seasons.”
Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships in the 1980s, has been involved with the Dodgers since before the 2012 season. “This is a great day for the city of Los Angeles and the Sparks,” Johnson said. “The leaders of this great city came together quickly to keep this franchise right where it belongs—in the city of Angels. Thanks to my sister, Evelyn, playing college basketball, I have a great appreciation of the talented players that represent the WNBA. Our group will now work together to bring our loyal fans another WNBA championship. ”
Johnson pushed some of his fellow owners of the Dodgers to buy the Sparks after Lakers ownership had decided to pull out. “Earvin came to me and said we need to help save the Sparks and keep them in Los Angeles,” Walter said. “The decision was quite easy for our investment group due to the passion Magic has for this city, these great athletes and our phenomenal fans. This team and its great players should remain a part of the sports fabric of this wonderful city.”
One of the league’s original eight teams, Los Angeles won the WNBA championship in 2001 and 2002, and is the last team to have earned titles in consecutive seasons. Los Angeles advanced to the Western Conference Finals in three of the past six seasons, most recently in 2012. A trio of WNBA All-Stars – forward/center Candace Parker, forward Nneka Ogwumike, and guard Kristi Toliver – headline a talented roster. The reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker also earned the honor during her rookie season in 2008. Ogwumike took home the WNBA Rookie of the Year award in 2012, the same year Toliver earned the WNBA Most Improved Player award.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is engaged to Minnesota Lynx guard Monica Wright. Wright confirmed the engagement following Minnesota’s 91-59 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday night.
Durant, who was selected with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, just completed his sixth season in the NBA. The 24-year-old forward averaged 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season. Wright is in her fourth season in the WNBA. She played her college ball at Virginia and turns 25 on July 15.
From Clutch Magazine: Nike is appealing to its consumer base of who wear mens clothing through its newest spokesperson, Brittney Griner. Griner, the 22 year-old number one draft pick for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, will model menswear for the brand.
ESPNreports: ”Griner’s deal is within this range; what makes it groundbreaking is the freedom. She will wear apparel branded as menswear, including the skateboarding line Nike SB, and she is allowed to pursue nontraditional marketing deals with outside companies.”
Wearing mens clothing is a natural fit for the 6’8″ basketball player, who is the first openly-gay athlete to sign with Nike. She says: “I used to do the whole baggy, hard-core, I’m-a-boy look. Then I went through a preppy phase. Now I have the athletic, bow-tie look. I found my style.”
ESPN writer Kate Fagan recognizes the significance of Nike and Griner’s decision, saying: “Androgynous models are coveted in high-end fashion, but the trend toward gender-neutral clothing has only just begun to reach the sports world, with NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade blurring the lines in their tight jeans and fitted sweaters.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama honored the WNBA champion Indiana Fever on Friday, calling the players role models for young athletes — even those on his daughter Sasha’s basketball team. The team captured its first title last October, defeating the Minnesota Lynx 87-78 and bringing home Indiana’s first basketball title since 1973.
Obama said the Fever’s season was an inspiration for basketball fans everywhere, including his daughter, whose team he sometimes coaches. He pointed out that the Fever came into the playoffs as underdogs and had lost to the Lynx during the regular season, then rallied to take the championship.
“For her to have wonderful role models like this who work hard and know how to play like a team, are incredibly poised, are competitors but also show good sportsmanship, that’s the kind of models you want for your children,” Obama said.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports announced Thursday that Skylar Diggins, the third overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, is the newest professional athlete to sign with the burgeoning sports agency. “It’s the ROC in here!” Diggins tweeted after the news broke on Jay’s Life+Timessite.“ShockNation meets RocNation.”
The former University of Notre Dame standout was recently selected by the Tulsa Shock in Connecticut last week. The 22-year old Associated Press First-Team All-American point guard will join New York Yankee Robinson Cano at Jay’s new company, which is a joint venture with the fabled Creative Artists Agency, boasting clients such as New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony and Buster Posey, who recently inked a $167 million deal with the San Francisco Giants.
The Blueprint III MC recently divested his minority ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets in order to be eligible to pursue NBA athletes. With the NBA Draft coming up in June, look for more breakout basketball stars to be throwing up the Roc in the coming months.