Alana Beard

WNBA All-Star Alana Beard To Lead Ownership Group For Oakland WNBA Team


October 27, 2021, Oakland, CA — WNBA Champion and four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard has partnered with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) in pursuit of bringing a WNBA franchise to Oakland. Attorney Jade Smith-Williams, of the law firm Baily & Glasser, LLP, has also joined as counsel for the group. The AASEG will host a press conference on Thursday, October 28 at 10am PTto share updates about the proposal and plan.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity and excited to help bring a WNBA team to Oakland,” Beard said. “The AASEG has done an incredible job of getting us to this point and has garnered tremendous support from influencers in the local community. I am hopeful our vision, passion and collective efforts will lead to the return of professional basketball in Oakland.”

Beard, who spent 15 years playing the WNBA and earned back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year honors, will lead the Oakland WNBA ownership process. Smith-Williams was a local Oakland women’s basketball legend and played professional overseas. Her law firm will advise the group on its ownership pursuit. 

Beard and Smith-Williams will be working closely with Oakland natives, Shonda Scott, and Samantha Wise, accomplished African American businesswomen, and members of the AASEG. Scott is the owner and CEO of 360 Total Concept, a second-generation Oakland business owner, and was a standout player at Holy Names High School in Oakland. Wise is an Oakland Native and an accomplished entrepreneur, community leader, popular podcast host, and corporate leader in the utilities sector. 

Beard, along with the AASEG, are also in discussions with several other prominent African American women to join the process soon. The AASEG believes the league will begin very soon to assess markets for expansion teams. However, as highlighted in several local and national media reports, the city of Oakland is proving that it is beyond prepared to bring a team to Oakland.

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan has been a major proponent of bringing the WNBA to Oakland for over a decade. 

“Our community in the Bay Area values social justice,” Kaplan said in a phone interview. “It values equality and women’s rights. It speaks up for the principle that Black lives matter and leadership; Black women’s leadership, is important.”

In a letter to the WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and C.O.O. Christy Hedgpeth, the AASEG highlighted the substantial and important progress they have already achieved, through unanimous votes by the Oakland City Council, The Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and the Joint Powers Authority Commission, in approving a Term Sheet that secures the path for an Oakland WNBA team to play its home games at the historic and centrally located Oakland Arena. 

The AASEG is positioned to not only bring a WNBA team to Oakland, but also to bring resources to girls and women throughout the Bay Area. Recent examples of the AASEG’s community involvement include:

– In August of this year, they helped the James Logan girls’ varsity basketball team purchase its own shooting machine after being denied use of the boys’ basketball team’s shooting machine.

– Throughout October and up through November, they will have donated over 1,000 sports bags to families and youth sports organizations throughout the city including at: Arroyo Viejo Park, Youth Uprising, The Native American Health Center, San Antonio Park, DeFremery Park, and Raimondi field. 

The WNBA has reached one of its most popular points since its inception, and the WNBA aligns very closely with Oakland as a leader of the Social Justice platform. Alicia Garza, co-founder of the International Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as Gina Johnson Lillard, Regional Director for Western Region of Mothers of Professional Basketball and mother of NBA superstar, Damian Lillard, have also joined the chorus of strong supporters for this professional sports ownership venture led by African American women. 

Alana Beard will be joined by Jade Smith-Williams, Alicia Garza, Shonda Scott, Samantha Wise, Rebecca Kaplan, and others during a virtual press conference on Thursday, October 28 at 10am PT.

Image: Ray Bobbitt and Rebecca Kaplan

Post based on press release from AASEG to ZENNIE62MEDIA, Inc.

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