WNBA To Celebrate Historic 10th Anniversary Season
-- WNBA All-Star Game Returning to New York City, Site of League's First Midseason Classic --
Boston, MA, April 5, 2006 - The WNBA will celebrate its 10th Anniversary season, which tips off on May 20, 2006, by selecting the WNBA All-Decade Team and the 10 Greatest Moments in league history, WNBA President Donna Orender announced today at a press conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, site of the 2006 WNBA Draft. The League also will launch a season-long initiative, "10 Years of Caring," where all teams will demonstrate their continued commitment to their communities. In addition, each of the 14 WNBA teams will celebrate the league's milestone with a 10th Anniversary-themed game as one of its first three home contests.
"This celebration marks the accomplishments of our past and embraces our vision for the future," said Orender. "We are so thankful for all of those who paved the way and contributed so much, and for the ongoing support of the current generation of players, coaches and executives as well as our business partners and fans with whom we will take this league into the future."
The WNBA will also bring the All-Star Game back to New York City's Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Liberty and site of the league's first midseason classic in 1999. The All-Star Game, the seventh in the history of the WNBA, will be played on Wednesday, July 12, with tip off set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPN and distributed around the world.
"While we had many options for WNBA All-Star 2006, as a league, we all agreed that there was no better place to hold this year's game than in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary," said Orender.
Details of the WNBA's major 10th initiatives are:
WNBA All-Decade Team
The WNBA will celebrate and honor the League's most influential players since its inaugural season in 1997. A blue-ribbon panel will develop a list of the top 30 past and current WNBA players who will be included on the official online ballot. From that list, 10 players will be named to the WNBA All-Decade Team.
The names of the 30 players on the ballot will be announced on April 27. Voting will be conducted among four groups: fans, select national and WNBA-market media, basketball representatives (including all current WNBA players and coaches) and celebrities. Each of the first three groups will account for 30 percent of the total vote; selection from the celebrity contingent will account for the final 10 percent.
In the days to come, the league will announce the process through which fans will have an opportunity to vote online.
Members of the All-Decade team will be selected on the basis of their overall contribution to the WNBA. Consideration is to be given to such factors as on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service as well as contribution to team success and the growth of women's basketball.
The All-Decade Team will be honored at the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game.
WNBA's 10 Greatest Moments
The WNBA's 10 Greatest Moments will be determined by fans through an online voting program. Those moments selected as the top 10 will be featured in an on-air countdown on ABC and ESPN beginning with the 2006 WNBA All-Star game and culminating with the announcement of the WNBA's #1 Greatest Moment during the broadcast of the WNBA Finals in 2006.
Years of Caring"
WNBA players are strong, passionate and determined individuals who are positive role models for people who aspire to great things. "10 Years of Caring" underscores the continued commitment of our teams and players to the communities in which they live and play.
In a league-wide initiative beginning the week of May 8, all 14 teams will be active in their respective markets engaging with fans in a variety of programs, including Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself clinics, Read to Achieve Reading Rallies, Jr. WNBA clinics, visiting schools and much more.
"We are especially proud of the '10 Years of Caring' initiative," said Orender, "because the fundamentals the league is recognized for on the court -- teamwork, dedication and determination -- are the same ones we demonstrate off the court" where WNBA Cares programs promote health and fitness, breast health awareness, literacy and youth basketball programs.
Anniversary Celebration Games
The League's 14 teams will commemorate the League's special anniversary season by hosting a unique, 10th Anniversary-themed game within one of their first three home dates.
While player uniforms will sport a commemorative 10th Anniversary patch throughout the season, players will wear new, specially designed 10th Anniversary Reebok Fusion shirts during pre-game shoot-around. Clubs also will tailor their own special events, some of which will include the utilization of a WNBA 10th Anniversary basketball designed and manufactured by Spalding, a partner of the League since its inception in 1997, presentations to long-time season ticket holders, and much, much more.
All-Star Game 2006
The WNBA is bringing the All-Star Game back to New York City's Madison Square Garden. On court happenings in addition to the All-Star Game will include the All-Star Skills Challenge. Off the court, the League will be bringing a fan-favorite, the All-Star Summer Jam, to New York as part of the annual celebration. All-Star Summer Jam will give fans of all ages an opportunity to participate in a wide variety
of interactive, family-friendly events, all for FREE. A full-size, colorful court will feature non-stop WNBA-style entertainment. The jam-packed schedule will include basketball and fitness clinics with players and coaches, WNBA dance team performances, fan contests and more.
The All-Stars will be extremely visible in New York during the All-Star Break as the League will launch a number of community initiatives in the Big Apple. Foremost among those will be the WNBA All-Star Legacy project, which serves as the centerpiece of the WNBA's community outreach efforts in the All-Star host city and leaves a lasting and positive impression for the community. Plans also will be announced in the near future for a WNBA-led special event dedicated to acknowledging the accomplishments of inspiring women during the All-Star break.
for the All-Star Game will be announced in the days to come.