Meet the 2022 WBNA Champions, the Las Vegas Aces

Founded in 1997 as the Utah Starzz, the Las Vegas Aces are a professional women’s basketball team with rising stardom. The team has a diverse,  turbulent, and unique history.

 

History

The now Las Vegas Aces played in Salt Lake City until 2002 when the franchise was moved to San Antonio, Texas, and renamed the San Antonio Silver Stars. In 2017, the team was purchased by MGM Resorts International and moved to Las Vegas, where they were renamed the Las Vegas Aces. The team’s history can be traced back to the founding of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1996. The Utah Starzz were one of the league’s original eight teams and played their first season in 1997. The team was named after the Utah Starzz dance team, which had been a popular attraction at Utah Jazz games.

 

In 2002, the franchise was moved to San Antonio, Texas, and renamed the Silver Stars. The team struggled during their first few seasons in San Antonio and failed to make the playoffs in their first five seasons in the city. Things start looking up. The team began turning things around in the mid-2000s making the playoffs for four (4) consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2009.

 

At the time, the Silver Stars were led by Becky Hammon, who joined the team in 2007 after being traded from the New York Liberty. Hammon quickly became one of the top players in the league, earning All-WNBA honors in multiple seasons and helping to lead the Silver Stars to the WNBA Finals in 2008, where they lost to the Detroit Shock in three games.



The Move to Las Vegas

In 2014, the Silver Stars were purchased by Spurs Sports and Entertainment, the same ownership group that owns the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. The team was renamed the San Antonio Stars and continued to play in San Antonio until 2017. In 2017, the team was purchased by MGM Resorts International and moved to Las Vegas, where they were renamed the Las Vegas Aces. The team’s first season in Las Vegas was a challenging one, as they finished with a league-worst 8-26 record. However, they showed signs of improvement in their second season, finishing with a 21-13 record and earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

 

The Aces have been led in recent years by star players such as A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage, and Kelsey Plum. Wilson, who was drafted first overall by the Aces in 2018, quickly established herself as one of the top players in the league, earning WNBA Rookie of the Year honors in her first season and earning MVP honors in 2020. Cambage, a dominant center who was acquired by the Aces in a trade with the Dallas Wings in 2019, has also been a key contributor to the team’s success in recent years.

 

The Las Vegas Aces have a rich history of perseverance and resilience despite facing numerous challenges over the years, the franchise has remained a fixture in the WNBA and has developed a loyal fan base in Las Vegas.