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WNBA All-Star game looks to leave mark in Vegas, eyes future

With Saturday the third time the WNBA All-Star game will be held in Las Vegas, it should be no surprise the league will all but likely bring the event back in the near future.

“I see Vegas becoming one of the preeminent homes for basketball,” WNBA Chief Growth Officer Colie Edison said. “It just makes a lot of sense for us to be in Las Vegas …. The fans showed unbelievable support for the Aces during their championship season last year and tickets sold out super quick for this WNBA All-Star game.”

The weekend’s festivities kick off Friday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center with the WNBA Live fan fest.

Over 15 WNBA sponsors will take part in the two-day fan event, with player appearances, various activities and attractions available to the free-to-enter event.

“Deep fan engagement, an opportunity to get custom goods, limited edition (merchandise) drops and really experience the WNBA brand,” Edison said. “We stand at the intersection of sports, culture and lifestyle. Through that you’ll find fashion, music and we’re looking to bring all of that to life. There’s no better place to do it than Las Vegas.”

The league will also make a community impact, making stops at various schools and community centers to leave a lasting impact on the Las Vegas Valley outside of the game.

The WNBA hosted a STEM learning experience at Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club in Henderson.

“We’ll talk to middle school-aged youth, teach them the tools and techniques used by sports scientists to evaluate athletic performance,” Edison said

On Friday the NBA and WNBA will dedicate a new STEM lab at Grant Sawyer Middle School in collaboration with Heart of America ahead of AT&T WNBA All-Star 2023.

The event will include a ribbon cutting as well as games, activities and a basketball clinic for youth. Players planned to be in attendance include Aces forward Alysha Clark, Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and WNBA player Allie Quigley.

A girls basketball clinic will also take place Friday night at Doolittle Community Center, featuring about 200 participants, focusing on teaching the fundamentals of basketball, Edison said. All participants will be given HP chromebooks at the conclusion of the event.

With the WNBA returning for the third time to Las Vegas for the all-star game, the relationship between the league and the city is evident. Those on the Strip all week couldn’t miss the various WNBA All-Star game ads blasting across resort marquees and video boards.

“To light up the Strip orange is our goal, to let everybody know that we’re here and I think basketball really has a home in Las Vegas for a really long time,” Edison said.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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