Count It! WNBA Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary Season in Style
Since 1996, they've walked the walk, blazing new trails and igniting the next generation. Now, it's time to talk the talk!
The WNBA celebrates its standing as a societal game-changer in "Count It," a wide-ranging 25th-anniversary campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi New York that includes the minute-long spot below, voiced in compellingly confident, cocky style by three-time league MVP Lisa Leslie.
"When you make the impossible shot, you tell your opponents: Count it. You make them eat their words. You tell them: Come see me," Leslie says, celebrating the WNBA's rise into the national consciousness and strides made by female athletes and women at large.
Key markers include three-time MVP Sheryl Swoopes' mid-career pregnancy and players' calls for social-justice and same-sex marriage equality. Also noted: the Atlanta Dream's high-profile backing of Democrat Raphael Warnock, who won Georgia's U.S. Senate run-off election in January over Republican incumbent and franchise co-owner Kelly Loeffler.
"We are thrilled to launch a new narrative around the upcoming season that is rooted in defying expectations and excelling in the face of adversity," says WNBA chief marketer Phil Cook.
Timed to Women's History Month, the push includes a bold commemorative logo, which, according to Cook, "signifies that the league isn't done counting achievements, because there are countless more to come."
That design will feature prominently on new Nike team uniforms and Wilson game balls.
"We are celebrating a quarter of a century of the impact the WNBA has made on sports and society, and on generations of young and diverse athletes," says league commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
After playing a 22-game "bubble" season in a Bradenton, Florida, with zero Covid-19 cases, the WNBA plans a full slate of games at regular venues this spring and summer.
Other silver anniversary initiatives include:
• The Commissioner's Cup: Comprising 10 designated regular season games per team, culminating in a championship tilt between the two squads atop the standings in each conference. "The Commissioner's Cup platform also convenes fans, players and partners in local communities for conversations and programming centered on equality and social justice," the WNBA says.
• WNBA Social Justice Movement: Founded last year to combat racial and gender equality, in 2021 the group will celebrate the league's history of advocacy across various issues.
• 25th Season Advisory Council: These women's basketball pioneers and legends will meet periodically "to help generate innovative ideas on how to grow the game and its fanbase," the league says. Members include former league standouts Leslie, Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, Fran Harris, Lauren Jackson, Rebecca Lobo and Lindsay Whalen, among others.
• The W25: A roster of the league's 25 greatest players, based on factors such as "on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service, as well as to contributions to team success and the overall growth of women's basketball."
• 25 Greatest Moments: Ranked from No. 25 through No. 1 and unveiled during the second half of the season and the playoffs.