With the upcoming 2021 WNBA season quickly approaching, the league recently announced some of the exciting things they will be doing to celebrate a historic 25th season. The league’s marketing campaign “Count It,” will celebrate the past, present, and future of the league.
The season that will honor past players, coaches, and teams, items that will help to make this a special season for current players, and innovations that will enhance the WNBA now and in the seasons to come. This is a huge season for the league, not just because of the anniversary, but for everything this season means to fans. Because it’s likely that a portion of the U.S. will have COVID-19 vaccinations by tip-off in May, this is not just a celebration of 25 years of excellence, but a celebration of conquering adversity as the world looks to move past the pandemic.
Here’s what fans should look forward to seeing during the 25th anniversary WNBA season:
Honoring The Past
The league announced they will be making the “W25,” a list of the greatest 25 players in league history. Players will not only be picked based on their on-court contributions, but also their contributions to the community and women’s basketball as a whole. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated that “we want to count all the accomplishments of the league, from a game perspective but also in culture and society.” Fans will also have the chance to vote and move their favorite players up the list.
Along with that, the league will also be making a list of the 25 greatest moments in WNBA history. The list is expected to begin being unveiled midway through the season and will conclude during the playoffs.
Celebrating The Present
The WNBA is not only acknowledging the work of individuals from the past but is celebrating the current stars and superstars when they take the court. The league has developed a sharp new logo for the season, featuring the current logo and roman numeral 25, for the league’s 25th year.
According to Engelbert, “tally marks symbolize the room for the league to have many more years of excellence”. The logo will be proudly displayed on every court, jersey, and ball used this season. “another tally is coming next, because the league isn’t done counting,”
Speaking of that, there are expected to be some changes to jerseys and balls this season. The league unveiled a new set of uniforms in collaboration with Nike that include three new jerseys for all 12 teams. Each team’s “Rebel” edition jersey will serve as an alternate jersey honoring each team’s home city. The league is also switching to Wilson balls this season, a change many players and fans have been looking forward to given the popularity of Wilson balls at the high school level.
An Innovative Future
Perhaps the most exciting thing coming this season are the changes the WNBA is making to ensure the success of women’s basketball in the future. The league has created a new advisory council made up of past WNBA players and important figures in league history. This council will meet periodically to work towards growing the game. Some people that will be on the board include past players like Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, and Lauren Jackson, along with senior executives like Carol Stiff and Warriors President and COO Rick Welts.
Lastly, the league announced that this season will have the first Commissioner’s Cup. The competition will consist of 10 regular-season games per team. The team with the best record in those games in each conference will meet in the Commissioner Cup Championship Game. The game will take place following the Olympic Break midway through the season. Engelbert noted, “this year will kind of be the pilot, and we’ll build on the strength and the things that work. Hopefully, as we come off the Olympic break, maybe we’ll have some more fans in different arenas”. This will certainly give fans something to look forward to, as the season approaches and during the Olympic break.