WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself Fitness Tour Kicks off May 19

WNBA Launches New Fitness Initiative

NEW YORK, May 17, 2005 – The WNBA and its teams will launch the league’s nationwide fitness initiative, WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself, on Thursday, May 19 with community events throughout the country.

As part of the program’s launch, WNBA teams will hold WNBA Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself fitness clinics and workshops featuring top players, coaches and team and league executives beginning Thursday, May 19 and continuing throughout the season. Additionally, WNBA cities including Charlotte, Connecticut, Detroit, Indiana, Phoenix, San Antonio and Seattle will officially proclaim the day WNBA Kids Health and Fitness Day and host various community events in celebration of the start of the WNBA’s ninth season and in recognition of the league’s strong and ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of its fans and their communities.

The league’s official tip-off event for the new fitness initiative will take place in Seattle, home of the 2004 WNBA Champion Seattle Storm, where students from T.T. Minor Elementary School will join top WNBA stars in various interactive clinics. In honor of the day, Spalding donated WNBA basketballs to be used for all community events taking place across the country.

“As the world’s leading women’s sports league, we believe it is our responsibility to do all that we can to emphasize the importance of health and fitness for women and young people,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “In this effort, we recognize that our players are the ideal individuals to carry this message and encourage fans to make physical fitness a regular part of their lives. And, the benefits go far beyond physical health to include self-esteem and an overall positive self image.”

Additional WNBA Kids Health and Fitness Day highlights:

  • Charlotte: Approximately 250 students from the Sterling Paedia Elementary School will join the Charlotte Sting to take part in fun and educational fitness forums.
  • Houston: Houston Comets’ stars will visit their local Boys and Girls Club to promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Indiana: The Indiana Fever will hold its annual “Rally on the Circle” event where groups of young people will learn the benefits of staying active.
  • Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Sparks have invited local girls’ basketball teams from surrounding high schools to an exclusive practice session, where they will get insider’s look at how professional athletes train.
  • Phoenix: The Phoenix Mercury will host an interactive fitness clinic for local high school basketball teams immediately following their practice session.

In 2004, for the sixth consecutive season, more than 2 million fans attended WNBA games and three consecutive WNBA Finals sellout crowds - a league record - witnessed the Seattle Storm defeat the Connecticut Sun to capture its first WNBA Championship.

The WNBA will tip off its ninth season Saturday, May 21, 2005 with a full slate of exciting match-ups, including ABC’s broadcast of the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm against the Los Angeles Sparks and reigning MVP Lisa Leslie at Key Arena beginning at 4 p.m. EDT. Opening day will also pit the 2004 WNBA runner-up Connecticut Sun vs. the Detroit Shock at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Houston Comets vs. the San Antonio Silver Stars at the SBC Center, the Phoenix Mercury against the Sacramento Monarchs at America West Arena and the Charlotte Sting hosting the Washington Mystics at the Charlotte Coliseum.