WNBA Launches New Community Initiative for Tenth Anniversary Season

-- WNBA "10 Years of Caring" Tips Off with Back-to-Back Community Events in WNBA Cities through the Week of May 8 --

-- Television Networks Across the Nation Display Spalding Limited Edition WNBA 10th Anniversary Basketballs in support of WNBA Cares Community Partner, Boys & Girls Club --

NEW YORK, May 8, 2006 -- The WNBA and its teams will launch a season-long initiative entitled "10 Years of Caring," this week with community events throughout the country. Teams will be active in their respective markets engaging with fans in a variety of programs, including WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself clinics, Read to Achieve Reading Rallies, Jr. WNBA clinics, Habitat for Humanity builds, school visits and much more.

"10 Years of Caring" celebrates 10 seasons of the WNBA's commitment to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, raising awareness for women's health, youth and family development, and education.

"We take pride in the role WNBA teams and players have undertaken in their communities. Our athletes are strong, passionate and determined individuals who are positive role models for people who aspire to great things," said WNBA President Donna Orender. "Through the '10 Years of Caring' initiative players will demonstrate off the court the very same fundamentals that make them special on the court: teamwork, dedication and determination."

In honor of "10 Years of Caring", Mayors of WNBA cities including Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana and Sacramento among others will officially proclaim select days of the week, WNBA 10 Years of Caring Day.

Below are select highlights of WNBA 10 Years of Caring activities:

TeamEvent or Activity
Charlotte: The Sting will host a WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself clinic at First Ward Elementary School on May 10, followed by a school visit to Trinity Middle School on May 11, a visit to the Presbyterian Hospital on May 12 and a Jr. WNBA clinic on May 13.
Connecticut: The Sun will conduct a “WNBA Be Fit Challenge” with 10 schools in the Connecticut area. The winning school will win $3,000 for physical education equipment.
Detroit: The Shock will build a new Reading & Learning Center at the Ferguson Academy for Young Women. The project includes extensive renovations to improve the school’s facitilites. The team will break ground on May 9 and the new WNBA Read to Achieve Library, WNBA Be Fit Gym and Swin Cash Step to Success auditorium will be officially revealed on May 18.
Houston: The Comets will host a special 10th Anniversary season tip-off festival at McDade Elementary School on May 10. Comets players will conduct a WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit- Be Yourself clinic for the students.
Indiana: The Fever will team up with Habitat for Humanity for a special Mother’s Day Build on May 10, followed by a Choices for Champions clinic on May 11, a WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself clinic at the Community Health Network on May 12 and a WNBA Read to Achieve reading rally at St. Vincent’s Children’s Hospital on May 15.
Los Angeles: The Sparks will host a 10th Anniversary season tip-off event for fans at the Santa Monica Pier on May 13, followed by a WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself clinic at the WNBA Be Fit Tour stop at Downtown Disney on May 14.
New York: The Liberty will team up with Project Sunshine to host a Read to Achieve reading rally at Mt. Sinai Hospital on May 10.
Phoenix: The Mercury will host a special 10th Anniversary season tip-off fan festival at Desert Ridge Market Place on May 7, where Mercury players will conduct a WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself clinic as part of the WNBA Be Fit Tour’s stop in Phoenix.
Washington: The Mystics will host a WNBA Read to Achieve reading rally at the NIH Children’s Hospital on May 10, followed by a visit to the Ronald McDonald House on May 11.

Click here for a complete calendar of events

In support of the "10 Years of Caring" initiative, Spalding - the official supplier of basketballs to the WNBA and NBA - donated limited-edition WNBA 10th Anniversary basketballs to be used in teams' fitness clinics.

Television stations across the nation will recognize the WNBA's "10 Years of Caring" program by displaying the WNBA 10th Anniversary basketball on their sets throughout the week of May 8 in honor of their local team's work in the community. For every basketball shown over the air, the WNBA will donate $100 - up to $10,000 total - to the stations' local Boys & Girls Clubs, a WNBA Cares community partner that shares the league's vision for enabling young people to reach their full potential.

About the WNBA
The WNBA's 10th anniversary season tips off on Saturday, May 20, and will include ABC's broadcast of the defending WNBA Champion Sacramento Monarchs, who will commemorate their 2005 WNBA title by raising the championship banner to the rafters before hosting All-Star guard Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury. Tip-off of that game at ARCO Arena is set for 4 p.m. ET. The league's 10th Anniversary season also will feature appointment viewing as ESPN2 will televise 14 WNBA games - including five doubleheaders - on Tuesday nights throughout the spring and summer.