All-Star Epilogue: 5 ways WNBA can spice up midseason weekend

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

We are a week removed from when the WNBA staged All-Star weekend 2022 in Chicago.

And while it had its highlights – Allie Quigley 4-peating as 3-point contest champion, Sylvia Fowles dunk, Kelsey Plum winning her first MVP and the acknowledgement of Brittney Griner as an honorary All-Star – the event was a cluster for many fans.

After all – those fans were only allowed to attend select events and Cathy Engelbert’s comments did not make it an easier pill to swallow for many who made the trip to the Windy City for the festivities.

While steps have been taken in recent years to make the WNBA’s All-Star festivities from simply a standalone game to a whole weekend’s worth of events, Chicago if nothing else showed more can still be done.

Engelbert recently said she hopes that the site of the 2023 WNBA All-Star weekend will be announced much sooner than 2022’s was, but all things are up for grabs, obviously, when dealing with the league. Here are a few things that the W can do to put an even greater spotlight on its marquee midsummer get-together.

Shooting Stars

Remember the Shooting Stars competition that was a fixture of NBA All-Star Saturday? For some reason the men’s association got rid of it and it was a way to incorporate the greats of the W into the NBA’s festivities.

Perhaps the WNBA can use the NBA’s Shooting Stars model and include its greats along with some of those from the W and perhaps also include top high school and college players into it too.

One good thing that the WNBA did do with the Chicago rendition of All-Star is it took advantage of Nike Nationals also being in town around the same time and had each WNBA participant in the Skills Challenge paired up in a tandem with one of those EYBL youngsters. That hopefully will be one success the W takes from All-Star 2022 and attaches it to future midseason festivities.

Rookies & Sophomores

If it feels as if these ideas are being lifted from what the NBA does, it is because the NBA has executed these ideas in the past with a great deal of success and the W can do the same.

This would have been the perfect year to do a Rookies vs. Sophomores game (one where the rooks may have won) given the litany of rookie talent we have seen just this year.

Whether it is Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream, Shakira Austin of the Washington Mystics or NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo and Destanni Henderson of the Indiana Fever, this year’s rookie class has proven exactly why the 2022 draft had so much depth.

Then there’s next year’s draft which will have South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and UConn’s Paige Bueckers at the top of the board. There is still time to work on having a Rookie-Sophomore matchup for All-Star 2023, WNBA. Hint hint…

Old Timer’s Game

One thing that the WNBA needs to be better at is incorporating its pioneers into its All-Star festivities. The NBA does this by having legends (and TNT/NBA TV personalities) judge the dunk contest.

And other teams from other sports already do this – ask the New York Yankees of MLB. Having an “Old Timers’ Game” or an All-Star Legends game would be a perfect method to acknowledge the Lisa Leslies, Swin Cash’s Ticha Penicheiro’s, Teresa Weatherspoons and Lindsay Whalens who paved the way for the A’ja Wilsons, Breanna Stewarts, Sabrina Ionescus, Jonquel Jones’ and Arike Ogunbowales of today’s W.

And some of the legends probably still have the moves to hoop. Let’s see them!

Celebrity Game

Has anyone noticed courtside of WNBA games lately (or as Atlantic and Flatbush is calling it CeLIBERTY Row?)

Those courtsides are starting to look very NBA-esque with the number of celebrities appearing – particularly in places where celebrities are abound such with the New York Liberty at Barclays Center, the Los Angeles Sparks at Arena, the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena and the Atlanta Dream at Gateway Center Arena.

And those games can also include WNBA and NBA greats as well – in addition to well-known WNBA fans among the celebrity set such as Kerri Washington and former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin.

The W took a step in the right direction with halftime performances at All-Star such as Teyana Taylor in Las Vegas for the 2019 rendition. With big name artists such as Chance the Rapper and Latto at WNBA Live this year in Chicago, it was a missed opportunity in terms of a halftime performance at Wintrust Arena.

Also – the ideas for team coaches for a celebrity game. Team Ari Chambers vs. Team Khristina Williams. Team Laureen Edwards vs. Team Lamar Carter. Team Myles Ehrlich vs. Team Akiem Bailum.


Sydney Colson WNBA comedy roast

We will let the tweets do this one justice.

One. More. For. The. Road.