Aces star A’Jay Wilson announces signature shoe with Nike

Two-time WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson is finally getting her Nike signature shoe.

The long-awaited news came Saturday morning as Wilson’s two-time champion Las Vegas Aces prepared to face the Puerto Rican national team in a preseason game at Colonial Life Arena in South Carolina. Former Gamecox National Champion He was wearing a sweatshirt The URL redirected to Nike’s website with the announcement, “Of course I have,” for his arrival on the scene.

Wilson’s shoe is called the “A’One”.

Nike has added Wilson to its list of signed athletes, joining a group that includes Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, Naomi Osaka and the New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu. The shoe and the rest of Wilson’s signature collection will arrive in 2025.

“Working with Nike towards my dream of having a collection has been incredible, and it’s truly an honor to take this next step and become a Nike signature athlete,” Wilson said in a statement. “From my logo to the look of the shoe and the pieces throughout the collection, we’ve worked to make sure every detail is perfectly aligned with my sport and style.”

After working with Nike for more than a year to develop his signature collection, Wilson requested a news cut to coincide with Ace’s trip to his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina.

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“The biggest thing for me is to be able to showcase what I’ve been working on for two years in my home state, in my home city,” Wilson told Andscape’s Aaron Dodson. “Where people saw me growing up and I raised their eyebrows and said, ‘Is she really that good?!’ To see me in college then, and now in the pros.”

Wilson will become the 13th WNBA athlete to have a signature shoe, the majority released in the league’s early years. After a decade-long hiatus in which no WNBA players received a signature shoe, Breanna Stewart and Puma debuted the Stevie 1s in 2022, while the Nike Air Delton followed with Elena Delle Donne’s shoe in 2022 and the Sabrina 1s for Ionescu the following year.

As the Aces win WNBA championships in 2022 and 2023, Wilson has established herself as the best player on the face of the league and the game, and fans have been asking — many have pointed out — Wilson to join that select club. Added to these latest shoe deals is the lack of black players.

That cry was revived last month when it was reported that Kaitlin Clark, the top running back, was expected to sign a $28 million contract with Nike through 2024.

“There’s definitely value in patience,” Wilson told Andscape. ‚ÄúThat’s something [South Carolina] Coach [Dawn] Staley taught me — some of the best things are waiting and ‘late is never denied.’ It was something I cursed at myself. It’s something I live by. So I’m going to stick with it.”

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Wilson’s fame and influence extends beyond the court: she has a statue outside the Colonial Life arena, was named one of The Times’ 100 Most Influential People in 2024 and is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “Dear Black Girls.” Published this year.

His cultural relevance is further confirmed by his own signature footwear. Wilson said in a release that the design process was “really gratifying” and that he didn’t realize how much went into it.

“It’s something I’ve been working really hard on and I think a lot of people don’t understand,” Wilson told Andscape. “I don’t want to get a shoe. … Because when people think of me, when people think of my team, they know, ‘We’re going above and beyond.’ I want my shoe to be like that.”

“It’s been an incredible ride, but a lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulders now because it’s starting to get tough,” Wilson continued. “But with the movement and development of the game, I feel like it’s the right time to say, ‘Hey, I got a shoe in the way.'”

“I wanted the shoe to be light and comfortable for all the hours I spend on the court, and it looks great,” Wilson said in the release, adding that he hopes people will wear it on and off the court.

“It’s really exciting to share a signature of mine with the world,” he said.

Wilson and the Aces, who open the 2024 WNBA season on Tuesday, hope to make it the league’s first championship three-peat since the Houston Comets won four in a row (1997-2000). Wilson will undoubtedly be the MVP front-runner and is poised to lead the U.S. National Team in its quest for gold at the Paris Olympics this summer.

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