TC to AZ: If anyone has earned WNBA All-Star votes this year – it is Atlanta Dream’s Tina Charles

Photo Credit: Adam Hagy/NBAE/Getty Images

WNBA All-Star voting recently opened up and All-Star weekend itself in Phoenix is only a month away. 

For those that are avid Beyond The W readers, we penned a piece three years ago about the breakout season Betnijah Laney-Hamilton was having with the New York Liberty. Our stance was that her season was certainly worthy of All-Star recognition. 

Laney was indeed named to the All-Star Game in 2021 as part of Team WNBA when they took on the United States national team at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas that year. Team WNBA defeated Team USA in that year’s All-Star Game by a final score of 93-85 with Arike Ogunbowale claiming MVP honors. 

This time, we wanted to recognize someone who previously played for the Liberty that is now making major waves with the Atlanta Dream. 

There is a three-person debate as to who is having the more emphatic comeback season during this 2024 season – Skylar Diggins-Smith at the Seattle Storm, Chennedy Carter at the Chicago Sky or Tina Charles at the Dream.

What makes what Charles has done so remarkable is since her final season with the Liberty in 2019, she was a journeywoman the last several years – and somewhat forgotten by the WNBA universe. 

Charles was traded to the Washington Mystics prior to the 2020 season but did not play that season because of the pandemic. The 2021 season was with Washington before she signed with the Phoenix Mercury for 2022.

It was well-documented all of the drama that engulfed the Mercury that season – from the spat between Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi to missing Brittney Griner because of the Russia ordeal to issues with (former) coach Vanessa Nygaard. Midway through that season, a buyout of Charles’ contract was agreed upon which cleared the way for her to sign with the Storm. 

She did not play last season but agreed to sign with the Dream for 2024. If one could have envisioned that someone who became the Liberty’s all-time leading scorer would become a journeywoman late in her career, eyebrows would have certainly been raised. 

It is a common theme nowadays for New Yorkers to find the fountain of youth in Atlanta and Charles appears to be no different. 

As of today, the Dream are actually tied with the Las Vegas Aces for the sixth seed if the playoffs were to commence. About those Aces…it was not that long ago that Atlanta earned a signature victory over Las Vegas at home with the final score being 78-74. 

Charles only scored seven points in that game but she was tied for the team lead that contest with eight rebounds. 

The Dream’s most recent victory was at the expense of the Los Angeles Sparks – an 87-74 win for the team from Black Hollywood over the team from the Hollywood out west. In that game, Charles did what she has done best her entire career – post double-doubles. She scored 20 points and brought down 11 rebounds. 

As of today, Charles is third on the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game and she is only one rebound shy (nine) for averaging a double-double for the season. The nine boards she is averaging actually has her leading Atlanta’s efforts on the glass – on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. 

When the Charles signing was announced, it was a fair question as to if we would see the Charles that lit up scoreboards in Manhattan and Westchester when she wore New York seafoam or the Charles who had problems in the same city of Phoenix where All-Star weekend will emanate from. 

But we should know by now to, more often than not, give general manager Dan Padover and head coach Tanisha Wright the benefit of the doubt.

It is very clear that this Charles looks more like the old Charles as opposed to an old Charles. One of the Dream’s upcoming games prior to the All-Star and Olympic break will be back in New York when Atlanta matches up against the Liberty at Barclays Center in what will surely be an emotional occasion for her. 

We will know after the season if Charles’ heroics will be enough for her to claim the 2024 Comeback Player of the Year award. The format for this year’s All-Star Game will see the top vote-getters who were not named to Team USA become part of Team WNBA. 

Last year’s Dream Big Three of Rhyne Howard, Cheyenne Parker-Tyus and Allisha Gray were All-Stars last year in Las Vegas. For leaving a central imprint on the 2024 season, Charles deserves a mid-summer getaway to the Footprint Center.