League president Laurel Richie remains optimistic about the health of the WNBA, despite a tumultuous season involving off-court issues and the absence of former MVP Diana Taurasi and promising star Skylar Diggins. “I think part of the culture of the larger NBA enterprise is always wanting more and always wanting to do better,” Richie said last week. “We at the WNBA take that approach, as well. We are always looking at what can we do to strengthen and grow our fan base, to extend into new partnerships.
Bill Laimbeer earned his second WNBA Coach of the Year honor on Thursday. A member of the Detroit Pistons’ 1989 and 1990 championship teams, Laimbeer received 23 votes from a panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters, the AP reported, after he led the New York Liberty to a franchise-record 23 wins and No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season.
Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will hold a joint press conference Wednesday to announce the plans for a “new state-of-the-art Entertainment and Sports Arena at St. Elizabeth’s East in Ward 8.” According to the press release issued by Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the “$55 million joint venture will become the future practice facility for the Washington Wizards” in addition to the home court of the Washington Mystics and the host of other events. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 with completion in fall of 2018. The 118,000 square foot facility will include a 5,000 seat arena and potentially provide the Congress Heights with additional revenue as an “entertainment venue” along with construction and permanent jobs.
Thomas has laid low amid the Liberty’s climb, declining interviews. In a statement to The Post, Isiah said: “When we were building this team during the offseason, there were three specific goals in mind: We wanted our team to have great chemistry, identify players that would have a positive impact in the community, and to be known for our on court defense first. To see this group perform at such a high level from the very start of the year has been enjoyable to watch. Coach (Bill) Laimbeer, his staff, and our players, have done an incredible job.
“Heading into the postseason, simply stated, we have put ourselves in the position that if we can protect home court then we will win a championship. It is exciting to provide our amazing fans the chance to play an important role in what we all hope will be an historic playoff run.”
Becky Hammon has had quite the summer. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich entrusted NBA Summer League head coaching duties on Hammon, making her the first female head coach in NBA Summer League history. If the story were to end there it’d still be one of the most significant storylines of the year. But Hammon and the Spurs weren’t satisfied with just an appearance in Summer League. No, they wanted to take home the championship. And they did. Hammon guided the Spurs to the Summer League title in a win over the Phoenix Suns. Since then Hammon has rightly received much laud. On Sunday, she was recognized once again for her contributions – this time on the court. The New York Liberty inducted Hammon into their Ring of Honor, a recognition bestowed on players “who have made the most significant contributions to the Liberty’s tradition of excellence and to the growth of the WNBA.”