There’s a saying that “you can’t be, what you don’t see.”
Sydney Colson knew she wanted to be a professional basketball player when she saw women playing on TV.
“I grew up in Houston and watching the dynasty that was the [Houston] Comets and seeing those women dominate like that fueled and inspired me to want to keep working to play in the WNBA one day,” said Colson, who plays in the WNBA for the Chicago Sky.
“Playing with and against some of the best basketball players in the world is obviously going to make you a better athlete, but there’s also much to be said about playing in a league of grown women who are intelligent, outspoken, courageous, and down to ruffle some feathers,” Colson continued. “Not that we all have it figured out, but it’s empowering to be around fearless women who have a grasp on who they are and what they want in this life.”
The WNBA was founded in 1996 with eight teams and a mission to uplift, encourage and showcase women athletes in the sport of basketball.
Over the years, despite challenges and setbacks, it remained steady and steadfast. It eventually grew to 12 teams, all while giving young girls dreams and hopes that one day they too, can be a part.
Those fearless women who make up the WNBA are now celebrating its landmark 25th season.
Highlights of Year 25 include a new campaign theme, “Count It,” a new 25th season commemorative logo which will be displayed on the courts, new team uniforms and new game ball, and a 25th anniversary advisory council made up of legends of the league. Additionally, all 12 WNBA teams will host specially-themed events and fan promotions all to celebrate ways its players have shattered expectations and have stood at the forefront of advancement, inclusion and social change for 25 years.
“We are celebrating a quarter of a century of the impact the WNBA has made on sports and society, and on generations of young and diverse athletes,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
Among the highlights of the 25th season are:
WNBA 25th Season Advisory Council:
The new advisory council for the 25th season is comprised of women’s basketball pioneers and WNBA legends including: four-time WNBA champion and four-time WNBA finals MVP Cynthia Cooper, WNBA champion and founder of Electra Beverages Fran Harris, two-time WNBA champion and three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, two-time WNBA champion and three-time MVP Lisa Leslie, WNBA All-Star and current ESPN reporter and analyst, Rebecca Lobo, four-time WNBA champion and three-time MVP Sheryl Swoopes, four-time WNBA champion and current University of Minnesota Women’s Head Coach Lindsay Whalen and Teresa Weatherspoon, five-time WNBA All-Star and New Orleans Pelicans Assistant Coach
The council will meet periodically to help generate innovative ideas on how to grow the game and its fanbase.
The League will select and honor its greatest players since its inception with the W25, who will be selected based on their overall contribution to the league and community. WNBA fans will also have the chance to vote on their favorite players.
WNBA 25 Greatest Moments:
The WNBA’s 25 Greatest Moments will also be determined during the season and the moments ranked from No. 25 through No.1 and unveiled during the second half of the season and the playoffs.
New WNBA Outfitting and Game Ball for 25th Season:
Leading up to the start of the 25th season, Nike will celebrate the league’s athletes with new uniforms and the official Wilson-brand WNBA high-performance game ball will be unveiled.
WNBA Social Justice:
Established last summer, the WNBA Justice Movement, led by the League’s Social Justice Council, will continue to lead work in the community to combat racial and gender inequality, promote advocacy for LBGTQ+ rights, and champion reform in systems where injustice persists.
WNBA Commissioner’s Cup:
This season also marks the debut of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup, described as a “competition within a competition” featuring player prize pools. Engelbert said it was born out of the League’s collective bargaining agreement, with the players and League creating this additional revenue model and asset as a way to drive more interest in the WNBA.
As the WNBA prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, its identity is that of a League rooted in defying expectations and excelling in the face of adversity. It’s a League that means a lot to its fans and its players and it has every intention of being around for another 25 years.