American, 22, Basketball
The WNBA’s breakthrough star making her mark
Key partners: Nike
A’ja Wilson hasn’t celebrated her 23rd birthday yet, but already there are plans to erect a statue of the psychology graduate at the University of South Carolina. It was Wilson’s exploits there - where she most recently swept all seven national player of the year awards - that convinced the Las Vegas Aces to pick her first in this year’s Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Draft.
Now at the heart of a budding sports craze in the world’s entertainment capital, Wilson is combining an infectious charm with the insatiable swagger that many had hoped she would bring to the women’s game. But Wilson’s on-court excellence and bubbly personality are just parts of why she could be so important to the WNBA.
Not one to shy away from the spotlight, the 22-year-old has spoken out against the pay disparity between female basketball players and their male counterparts in the NBA. Young girls now have Wilson’s name attached to their Twitter bios, and she’s speaking of building a brand for those fans to aspire to. Put simply, Wilson is becoming the ultimate role model, and with every leap she makes towards the net, there is a sense that she could be dragging the WNBA up with her. SC