“Las Vegas, I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve given me and my teammates, we made this one for all of you,” Wilson said at the event. “I have some of the best teammates in the world. I really mean it.”
And the fans really got up. The rally drew so much attention that the Strip had to be closed to vehicles after originally planning to close southbound traffic.
Despite such strong ties to the sport, Sin City has only had a major professional franchise in the city since the NHL’s Golden Knights arrived in Vegas in 2017.
Franchises have generally been reluctant to locate in a world-famous sports betting city. That, coupled with the fact that the city only had a population of 653,000 in 2020, meant that no team tried their luck in Las Vegas until the hockey franchise came to town.
The Aces moved to Nevada in 2018 and they were joined by the NFL Raiders who moved from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020.
But the city was deprived of a championship-winning team until Sunday when the Aces, the first playoff seed, banished their demons to win in Connecticut.
The star-studded team had come closer in recent years, reaching the final in 2020 where they were swept away by the Seattle Storm and falling to the semi-finals last year in an atrocious Game 5 loss at home to the Phoenix Mercury.
The holidays were all the sweeter. Head coach Becky Hammon – who became the first head coach in WNBA history to win a title in his first year as head coach – was impressed with the turnout.
“I’m new to the desert and I didn’t know you were going to show up like this,” Hammon said. “But I’m learning.”
She was joined in celebrating fans by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, who gave the Aces a key to the Las Vegas Strip and declared Las Vegas Aces Day in the state on Tuesday.
“It’s amazing, these women deserve it so much,” Sisolak said. “They are great leaders on the pitch, but off the pitch they are an inspiration to all young people, especially young women who now know that if they can dream it, it can come true.”
Wilson wasn’t able to deliver on her post-series promise to waterski on the Bellagio fountain, but the regular season MVP and her teammates have captured the hearts of their hometown and will remain in the spotlight. story.