Las Vegas is celebrating after the Aces achieved back-to-back victories in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) championship, marking the first time the city has witnessed consecutive pro sports victories in its history. The twin championships also set a 21-year record in the WNBA, drawing about 5,000 fans to bask in the historic moment.
WNBA finals MVP, A’ja Wilson, was in high spirits on Monday, as she held the championship trophy aloft after disembarking from the Las Vegas Aces’ bus at Toshiba Plaza. Dressed in her signature bandana and wraparound shades, Wilson addressed the cheering crowd. “We can’t appreciate you guys enough for always supporting us, always cheering us near and far!” she said.
Wilson was instrumental in the Aces’ triumph over the New York Liberty, averaging 21.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game across the four fixtures last week. “It’s hard to win a championship, it’s even harder to repeat,” said Aces owner Mark Davis in his victory speech, acknowledging his own experience trying to get the Raiders to a Super Bowl since 2011.
Last year, the Aces celebrated their victory over the Connecticut Sun with a two-mile parade from the Excalibur to the Bellagio. However, this year, preparations for the upcoming F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix had already staked claim to most of the Strip. As such, the Aces could only parade a quarter of that distance, arriving at a rally at the Toshiba Plaza pedestrian mall outside the T-Mobile Arena.
Regardless of the scale, the event was electric with the fiesty spirit of the team. “We’re coming back!” Wilson declared to the exuberant fans, vowing for a third consecutive celebration rally next year as they plan on repeating their victory.
It is notable that Vegas took nearly a century to fully join the realm of professional sports, primarily due to concerns of game-fixing that lingered alongside the city’s renowned gambling culture. However, it took the Golden Knights NHL team’s success in 2017 to put such fears to rest. As a result, Las Vegas welcomed the arrival of the former San Antonio Silver Stars, relabeled as the Aces, and later, the Oakland Raiders in 2020.
Currently, two of Vegas’ three pro teams are known for their winning streaks. This past June, the Knights celebrated their first Stanley Cup victory at Toshiba Plaza, further elevating Vegas’ stature as a triumphant city in the pro sports arena.