November 8, 2021 

Athletes Unlimited reveals additional players

Las Vegas will host league's inaugural professional basketball season

Athletes Unlimited (AU) announced the addition of 10 athletes to its basketball league. The league’s inaugural season will take place from Jan. 26 to Feb. 26, 2022, in Las Vegas.

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AU is a player-focused professional sports league that features player-captained teams without coaches or owners. Last month, AU announced its expansion into women’s basketball. At the time, Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and WNBA veterans Sydney Colson and Tamera Young were the first three players to sign with the league.

In addition to Cloud, players on current WNBA rosters who will compete in AU include Indiana Fever forward Jantel Lavender, Seattle Storm forward Kiki Harrigan and Atlanta Dream players Tianna Hawkins, Odyssey Sims and Courtney Williams. WNBA champion Essence Carson, who played 13 seasons in the league, also will join AU this season. Carson most recently competed on a WNBA roster during the 2020 “wubble” season.

Additional signings include Kirby Burkholder, Tyce Knox, Jessica Kuster and Laurin Mincy. Each of these players has overseas experience. Now they will have the chance to showcase their skills in a U.S.-based league.

“Athletes Unlimited provides American players an additional opportunity to play in the United States, an opportunity we have always hoped for,” Jantel Lavender said. “Staying in the U.S. allows us to spend more time with our families while earning money and not putting as much wear and tear on our bodies, so that we can put out the best product. I am also looking forward to the unique Athletes Unlimited format, every week a new team, playing with – as well as against — some of the best players in our sport every week, I’m excited to be a part of the first group to try this out and I hope it’s something that can be an option for women’s basketball players for many years to come.”

In the AU model, athletes have the chance to score points for both individual and team wins and individual statistics including rebounds, steals, assists and more. Each week, the four top-ranked players on the leaderboard get to choose their team to compete in round-robin play. The athlete with the most points at the end of the season is crowned champion.

The Athletes Unlimited Arena at the Sport Center of Las Vegas will host the inaugural AU basketball season. Ticket and broadcast schedule information will be shared in December.

Written by Tee Baker

Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.

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