WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces Just Won the City’s First Major Sports Championship

Head coach Becky Hammon is also the first coach in WNBA history to win a championship in her debut season.

WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces Just Won the City’s First Major Sports Championship
Photo:M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images (Getty Images)

If you’ve seen WNBA league MVP A’ja Wilson twerking on your timeline this morning, it’s because the Las Vegas Aces took home the city’s first major professional sports title on Sunday night. It was a banner night for Wilson and teammates Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum, who helped to secure the franchise’s first-ever title, and for former WNBA legend and head coach Becky Hammon, who became the first in WNBA history to secure a title during her rookie coaching season.

The Aces beat the Connecticut Sun in Game 4 last night, ending their quest for the WNBA championship, and the players celebrated in appropriately debaucherous fashion. After playing before a sold-out arena, Plum was spotted in the locker room carrying a boombox the size of her torso, rocking out with Nike snowboarding goggles and lurking in the back of other players’ photoshoots. The locker room was covered in bubbly, and Wilson appeared emotionally drunk off the win during her post-game press conference, telling Usher and Drake they better show up to the Aces parade and promising the team would be “skiing” across the Bellagio fountains.

For Aces coach Hammon, a beloved former WNBA player who never secured a ring during her on-court tenure, the win is bigger than a ring or a trophy. Hammon was once prophesied to become the first woman head coach in any of the four major American sporting leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB). But after eight years as an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, Hammon took her first head coaching position in the WNBA instead. Throughout the season, speculative coverage has asked whether she might head to the NBA at the conclusion of this season, and Hammon herself has said she’s long been qualified for a job like that: “Sure, if my name was Brian and I played 16 years in the NBA, I would have been hired and fired a few times as an NBA coach already,” Hammon told ESPN. The conversation around Hammon’s future echoed an annoyingly common theme in sports media, centering the NBA as the better gig for Hammon and men’s sports as the pinnacle of sporting success. “What if we stopped positioning the NBA as the goal & the WNBA as a step down?” sports writer Frankie de la Cretaz wondered.

But Hammon is clearly proud of her superstar—now championship winning—team. “They’re unbelievable on the court but they’re unbelievable humans, first and foremost,” Hammon said. “They care about each other. They invest in each other. It’s been an absolute honor to be their coach. I saw excellence and I wanted to be a part of it.”

The win marked the end of the WNBA season, but also a sorely needed and precious example of elite women athletes partying like fucking rockstars. They did what the Las Vegas Raiders (NFL) and the Las Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) could not: They brought home the bacon.

“Las Vegas, we are world champions,” Aces owner Mark Davis, who also owns the Raiders, said after the game.

As for the upcoming championship parade on Tuesday? Wilson said it best: “If you ain’t four shots in, don’t come.”

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