Olympics selection adds heat to WNBA All-Star Game but doesn’t diminish from the achievement

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The WNBA is celebrating 25 years with this season, however this can be simply the seventeenth official All-Star Sport within the league’s historical past. 

Being a summer time sport, it usually competes with different leagues and competitions, particularly FIBA regional occasions and – as soon as each 4 years – the Olympic Video games.

The latter has historically made it troublesome for the WNBA’s finest gamers to be chosen to the All-Star Sport as a result of, by definition, the perfect gamers are normally chosen to symbolize their respective international locations and the dates normally conflict.


Dwell WNBA All-Star Sport


Thursday fifteenth July 12:00am

In 2004, the league made an effort to retain curiosity whereas the worldwide recreation was being performed and it hosted an unofficial All-Star Sport, which for numerous causes was titled The Sport at Radio Metropolis and featured the WNBA versus USA Basketball.

With it happening throughout the early phases of the league and lengthy earlier than the rise of ladies’s basketball extra typically, the WNBA was prime heavy. With a lot of the finest gamers suiting up for USA Basketball the nationwide group wiped the ground with what was left to symbolize the league.



Minnesota Lynx forward Jessica Shepard, left, and Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes reach for a rebound during the second half of a WNBA basketball game Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Lynx won 86-61.








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Take a look at the highest 5 performs from Sunday evening within the WNBA.

In 2021, and for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Video games, the idea is again, however this time it has been adopted by the WNBA as an official All-Star Sport. It’s unbelievable to see the league constructing on its momentum and providing fan engagement occasions for informal viewers, and the storyline of the Group USA snubs eager to beat the Olympic squad whereas representing the All-Stars solely provides intrigue for die-hard followers.

However given the sporadic nature of the WNBA All-Star Sport in earlier seasons, you may argue that it has been seen as a secondary matter of significance. So what does that say to the gamers who compete for these alternatives every season?

Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky
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Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky

“Once you’re lucky sufficient to go to a number of All-Star video games,” Candace Parker advised Sky Sports activities NBA, “and also you realised my team-mate, Kahleah Copper, it’s her first time right here, you realise once more how particular it’s to be a prime participant in the perfect league in the complete world.”

Parker has seen all of it and accomplished all of it. She received Rookie of the Yr and Most Beneficial Participant in the identical season with the LA Sparks (2008), had a toddler early in her profession solely to return and win a championship in 2016. She has two Olympic gold medals below her belt however missed out in 2016, so Parker would love to point out the nationwide choice committee what they’re lacking. And whereas she hasn’t taken her sixth All-Star Sport without any consideration, now taking part in for her hometown Chicago Sky, it maybe means extra to a few of these first-timers who’re representing the league.

Brionna Jones from the Connecticut Solar is one such first-time participant on the recreation, however she can have a teammate alongside her. It’s not Jonquel Jones’ first rodeo, however the MVP candidate was excited on the prospect of beating Group USA with the WNBA All-Stars and promised that she’ll inform her grandchildren in regards to the 12 months she ought to have received Olympic gold in the event that they succeed.

Brionna Jones shoots a free-throw for the Connecticut Sun
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Brionna Jones shoots a free-throw for the Connecticut Solar

Brionna stated: “Being named an All-Star in any season is an achievement since you’re nonetheless competing with the perfect of the perfect within the WNBA, so to be honoured in that regard by the gamers and the followers continues to be an enormous achievement it doesn’t matter what 12 months it’s.”

Jones felt it was particularly vital to these gamers who may solely have one or two standout seasons within the league. There are few spots out there, making it a lot tougher to retain endurance within the WNBA. She stated: “I’m pleased they did it this 12 months as a result of previously there have been individuals who’ve had actually good seasons and never been in a position to be on the All-Star group as a result of it’s been an Olympic 12 months. Some folks miss out on that honour so I’m happy they’re allowed to do it this 12 months.”

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 13: Jonquel Jones #35 of Team WNBA smiles during the 2021 AT&T WNBA All-Star Practice and Media Availability on July 13, 2021 at  the Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)
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This can be Jonquel Jones third WNBA All-Star choice after 2017 and 2018

Dearica Hamby is one other first-timer and she or he can have Liz Cambage suiting up alongside her as they face their fellow Aces A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Grey. As a reigning, two-time Sixth Participant of the Yr, she has loads of plans as a first-time All-Star and her daughter can be there for the expertise as effectively. Hamby can be donning the WNBA’s Orange Carpet with Amaya, the place they are going to be carrying matching Jordan sneakers.

Hamby stated: “A championship is an important factor for everybody, nevertheless it’s a pleasant technique to get the gamers round one another. Our league is sort of a household, we’re all cool with each other, and assist one another. But it surely’s good to carry everybody collectively and calm down a little bit bit.”

The power to take inventory of the season and recognize the event is one which should not be neglected.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 13: Dearica Hamby #5 of Team WNBA shoots the ball during  during the 2021 AT&T WNBA All-Star Practice and Media Availability on July 13, 2021 at  the Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dearica Hamby strains up a shot throughout the WNBA Group’s observe session

The distinction on this 12 months’s exhibition in comparison with the earlier iteration in 2004 is that the competitors is loads greater once you take away 12 American gamers and put them on Group USA.

Cambage is on the All-Star Group however she may even be on the Olympics, representing Australia. Satou Sabally can be representing Germany in 3×3 Basketball. Jonquel Jones simply led Bosnia and Herzegovina to a EuroBasket look however the nation didn’t qualify for the Olympics, and neither did Hungary, who Courtney Vandersloot opted to symbolize.

She stated: “That is solely my third and I’ve been within the league for 11 years, so I perceive how particular it’s to be chosen. Yearly there’s people who in all probability deserve it that don’t get on the All-Star Sport. It’s particular and one thing I’ll by no means take without any consideration.”

Had every of those athletes been born within the USA or gone down the USA Basketball route – some are American however most well-liked to symbolize one other nation – they may have been on this 12 months’s roster. And once you add national-level expertise that didn’t make the lower, reminiscent of Candace Parker, DeWanna Bonner and Arike Ogunbowale, in addition to a crop of gamers who’ve taken an enormous step up this 12 months – Betnijah Laney, Kahleah Copper and Brionna Jones – this may very well be a tricky recreation for the nationwide facet.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 13: Sue Bird #6 and Diana Taurasi #12 of the USA Women's National Team pose for a photo during the 2021 AT&T WNBA All-Star Practice and Media Availability on July 13, 2021 at the Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Diana Taurasi and Sue Chicken of Group USA, each four-time Olympic gold medal winners

Once you throw in the truth that the potential place to begin guard and capturing guard Sue Chicken and Diana Taurasi try to play of their fifth Olympics, youth could be a problem.

Taurasi has already stated it’s unlikely she’ll play on the All-Star Sport, and there are just a few Olympic debutantes, reminiscent of Skylar Diggins-Smith and Ariel Atkins. USA Basketball must lean closely on its prime tier.

Whereas it could be an exhibition and a celebration of the league to have interaction informal followers, this 12 months’s All-Star Sport may have massive implications due to the controversy round who did and didn’t make the lower for the Olympic squad the WNBA can be taking part in in opposition to.



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