Sparks, WNBA celebrate league’s 25-year milestone

The WNBA has revealed its new logo and slogan for the league’s 25th year anniversary which will be used for the entirety of the 2021 season. The slogan for the season, “Count It” was released alongside a brand-new logo, uniforms, and a new game ball design.

The slogan will be plastered on homecourts in an effort to bring awareness to counting all the achievements accomplished throughout the league’s 25 years of existence. The new logo which includes tallies that add up to the number 25 will also be featured on the new game ball, as well as on all new uniforms which have yet to be released.

The new-look uniforms are expected to be released in the coming weeks, with one team, the Seattle Storm already providing a sneak peek at their new logo design for the upcoming season.

As the WNBA celebrates this milestone, the league plans to use its platform to continue highlighting the importance of social justice within their communities throughout the season. Highlighted in a video that was created by the league and voiced over by long-time Los Angeles Sparks Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie, the WNBA is out to prove that women’s basketball is just as competitive as any other professional sports league.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert emphasized that despite consistently being overlooked compared to other professional sports, the upcoming season has plenty of more highlight moments waiting to be added to the rich history of the league.

“We want to count all the accomplishments of the league, from a game perspective but also in culture and society,” Engelbert said. “The reason we decided to use tallies in the logo was to get across the idea of, ‘Keep counting, because there is a lot more to come from the WNBA.”

Engelbert understands the importance of continuing to echo the league’s role in the social justice movement that has swept the nation over the last two years, as many players stood up for the cause last season during the bubble.

“Hopefully we’re going to have a lot of fan engagement around all these elements, along with naming our 25 greatest players and 25 greatest moments,” Engelbert said. “And our social justice council has continued to meet to keep doing important work in their communities.”

Former UCLA star and current Seattle Storm guard Jordin Canada brings the ball up the court against the Los Angeles Sparks at STAPLES Center. Photo credit: News4usonline
Former UCLA star and current Seattle Storm guard Jordin Canada brings the ball up the court against the Los Angeles Sparks at STAPLES Center. Photo credit: News4usonline

While the league has yet to officially announce the schedule for the upcoming season, an announcement is expected in the coming weeks before the April 15 draft. A schedule between 30-36 games is expected to be slated for the season, as teams will play in their home markets with limited attendance in certain markets.

The league has been monitoring how the NBA has handled the start of their first season outside the bubble, with the WNBA’s plan being to maintain testing and COVID-19 protocols similar to that of the 2020 season that took place in a bubble in Bradenton, Florida.

With the Olympics occurring in the summer, the league has scheduled a break around the summer games in order to provide their players the opportunity to play for their respective countries. Possible postponement of the Summer Games due to COVID-19 related incidents is also being calculated into the final schedule, leaving room for make-ups games if needed on the back end of the schedule.

The schedule will also consist of a new tournament that was implemented last year but held due to the coronavirus. The Commissioner’s Cup will make its debut during the regular season, with the championship game set to take place after the Olympic break and mark the resumption of the second half of the season.

The tournament is set to be ten-games with those games being counted towards the regular season tally. The addition of the tournament during the season is being done with the hopes of creating a mini-playoff feel and providing fans with more exciting games heading into the final games of the regular season.

PALMETTO, FL- AUGUST 25: Lindsay Allen #15 of the Las Vegas Aces drives to the basket against the Dallas Wings on August 25, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida.

Playoffs are expected to take place as normal, as the league proved last season that those games will be as exciting as ever regardless of where the games are played.

As the April draft approaches, the league has yet to decide whether or not they will host the top college players from across the country on draft night. With the Dallas Wings holding four of the first ten picks in the upcoming draft, the decision to stay virtual or invite players remains a question mark.

The Sparks hold the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft and will look to add another young talented piece to an already loaded roster that included multiple new signings this offseason.

With their most recent addition of forward Nia Coffey, the Sparks have continued their busy offseason in reloading and retooling their roster with a mix of veteran and young savvy players.

Sparks general manager and head coach Derek Fisher shared his excitement in the team’s newest addition, praising the young forward for her ability to knock down the three-ball.

“The addition of Nia Coffey provides us with additional athleticism, youth and versatility on the wing,” Fisher said. “Nia has shown the ability to make outside shots, attack the basket, and defend multiple positions. We’re excited to have her join our group and compete.”

As the Sparks themselves get set to celebrate and play their 25th season in the league, the organization hopes to add another championship trophy to the three banners that already hang up in the rafters at Staples Center.

Featured Image: PALMETTO, FL- AUGUST 23: Kayla Thornton #6 of the Dallas Wings plays defense against the Los Angeles Sparks on August 23, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida.

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