June 12, 2024 

Teammates enjoying the view of A’ja Wilson’s show-stopping performances

'It's hard to score at a high level and defend at a high level, and be a leader at a high level, and just lead our team. She steps up and does it every night'

LAS VEGAS – In the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world, it seems only fitting that Jackie Young and her Las Vegas Aces teammates are having fun participating in an incredible show in the WNBA.

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A’ja Wilson highlights the marquee with nightly feats of brilliance and ridiculous consistency. The consistency of the spectacle makes it easy to take her excellence for granted. In a city full of glamorous headliners, the 27-year old Wilson has become a must-see attraction.

Wilson has been a bright light during the Aces’ current three-game losing streak that they hope to end soon. The Aces, who sit at 5-5 overall, are about to embark on a two-game road trip to Phoenix on Thursday and New York on Saturday.

Young shook her head in admiration following the Aces’ 78-65 setback to Seattle last Friday at Michelob ULTRA Arena when asked by The Next to discuss Wilson’s fantastic start to the season.

“To be able to do what she does every night consistently, that’s extremely hard,” said Young, one of the Aces four Olympians named to the United States team Tuesday along with Wilson, Chelsea Gray, and Kelsey Plum. “It’s hard to score at a high level and defend at a high level. And be a leader at a high level, and just lead our team. She steps up and does it every night.”

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Wilson’s numbers are eye-popping

In a year in which a lot of discussion has centralized around a specific rookie, a shove, increased television and attendance numbers, and scrutinized Olympic team decisions, Wilson is producing mesmerizing numbers that probably aren’t being talked about more nationally. Her performances deserve more air-time, considering the eye-popping statistics she’s registering.

Wilson leads the WNBA in scoring (28.3 per game) and is tied for first in rebounding (11.4 per game). She also ranks third in blocks (2.7), fifth in steals (1.9), and 10th in field goal percentage (.507).

Her dominance in the WNBA is undeniable. She has scored 20 or more points in a WNBA-record 15 straight games. She has also scored at least 28 points in a WNBA-record seven consecutive contests. This surpasses the previous record set by Diana Taurasi in 2007, when she scored at least 20 points in 13 straight games.

During Tuesday’s 100-86 loss to Minnesota, Wilson did not block a single shot. That snapped her 18-game streak of completing at least one blocked shot, which was the longest active streak in the WNBA.

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A’ja Wilson (22) became the fourth-youngest to hit the career 4,000-point mark, joining Breanna Stewart, Taurasi, and Elena Delle Donne.s. (Photo credit: David Sherman | NBA Photos)

And on June 9, in a game against the Los Angeles Sparks, Wilson scored her 4,000th career point. Only three players in league history have scored 4,000 points in fewer than 200 games. Wilson, 27 years and 306 days old on June 9, also became the fourth-youngest to hit the 4K mark, joining Breanna Stewart, Taurasi, and Elena Delle Donne.

Wilson enhanced her legacy when she was recently named Western Conference Player of the Month for the ninth time in her career. The only player to have won more Player of the Month Awards than Wilson is Tina Charles, with 12. All of Charles’s awards were earned while she played in the Eastern Conference. Wilson is now tied with Sylvia Fowles for the most awards won as a member of a Western Conference team.

Although the two-time reigning champion Aces have lost four of their last five games, Wilson has been a human cheat code, averaging 30.4 points per contest on 63 percent shooting (66-for-104). She also scored a season-high 36 points in 34 minutes in a 95-81 road win against Dallas. She scored 25 of her 31 points against Seattle in the second half.

Wilson makes waves off the court

And still, there’s more to Wilson. “We all know she’s a great basketball player, but she’s even a better person,” Young said. “And she does a great job handling both. There’s a lot of pressure with being an MVP and a defending champion. She shows up every night, which is something special. It’s cool to see her put in the work that she does and have it pay off every game.”

Wilson’s best work doesn’t stop when she leaves the court. When she’s not dominating the WNBA, she’s a loyal friend and a dedicated philanthropist. Her commitment to her family, friends, and community is just as impressive as her performance on the court.

She is not just a basketball player, but also an entrepreneur, author, and spokeswoman. Wilson started the Burnt Wax Candle Company, published a New York Times bestselling book entitled ‘Dear Black Girls,’ and was named to Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People. She is also a spokeswoman for Nike and Starry, and is on the Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list. Her foundation supports families with dyslexia, showing her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.    

California here you come ☀️

Can’t decide what to do this sunny season? How about an all-expenses paid weekend trip for two to LA to watch both the LA Sparks and Angel City FC next month? Problem solved.

Complete with sweet swag from our friends at Birdies, take in some WNBA action in premium seats when the LA Sparks host the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces on July 5th. 

  • Then catch Angel City vs. the reigning NWSL champs, Gotham FC, on July 6th in style before the Olympic break. In addition to two premium tickets which include warm up field passes, the winners will also walk away with jerseys.

Be part of the women’s sports movement and enter to win today.

As rookie guard Kate Martin celebrated her 24th birthday earlier this month, Wilson made it unforgettable. She gifted her a tiara, a birthday ribbon that Martin proudly wore on her chest, and a bundt cake. Wilson has instilled confidence in Martin this season, making her feel like a vital part of the team. Her steadying presence has been invaluable during this turbulent period for the Aces.

Following Martin’s first career professional start, in which she scored 13 points against the Los Angeles Sparks, she demonstrated her appreciation for Wilson during the postgame press conference.

“All my teammates have been in the league for quite some time, and I am sitting next to the best player in the world,” Martin shared during the Aces postgame press conference after falling to the Sparks, 96-92, on the road this past Sunday. “Not only is she the best player in the world, but she’s also the best leader I’ve ever been around. She brings people together and has so much confidence in every player on this team. That builds up our locker room so much.”

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Written by Rob Knox

Rob Knox is an award-winning professional and a member of the Lincoln (Pa.) Athletics Hall of Fame. In addition to having work published in SLAM magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, and Diverse Issues In Higher Education, Knox enjoyed a distinguished career as an athletics communicator for Lincoln, Kutztown, Coppin State, Towson, and UNC Greensboro. He also worked at ESPN and for the Delaware County Daily Times. Recently, Knox was honored by CSC with the Mary Jo Haverbeck Trailblazer Award and the NCAA with its Champion of Diversity award. Named a HBCU Legend by SI.com, Knox is a graduate of Lincoln University and a past president of the College Sports Communicators, formerly CoSIDA.

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