When A’ja Wilson entered the WNBA, she was destined to become a star. Wilson has only been in the league for a few years, and she has already impacted women’s sports. The former No. 1 overall pick was recently named WNBA’s MVP.
Like other athletes, Wilson spoke out on the Breonna Taylor case verdict, and as a Black woman, Wilson had a message for other women who look like her.
A’ja Wilson has been a star since her college days
Wilson was a top high school recruit and decided to commit to the University of South Carolina, which is a powerhouse in women’s college basketball. During her freshman year at South Carolina, she played in 37 games and averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, and she was an All-SEC First Team selection. Wilson was also named a third-team All-American. In one year, she made a big impact on her team, and she would continue to have success at South Carolina during her career there.
Over the next three years, Wilson improved her game and developed into one of the top college players. During her sophomore year, she was named the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 16.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks. She was the second player in league history to win both awards in the same season. Wilson’s success did not stop as her junior season was one of her best years of college basketball. Wilson helped South Carolina win their first national championship in school history. She was named the SEC Player of the Year once again and was a unanimous All-American selection.
Wilson ended her college career on a good note. During her senior year, she was the consensus National Player of the Year after averaging 22.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks, all career-highs. She had a college career to remember and is considered one of the best players ever to come out of South Carolina.
A’ja Wilson continuing her success in the WNBA
After a stellar career in college, Wilson went on to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft by the Las Vegas Aces. In her first year, she did not disappoint. She played and started in all 33 games and averaged 20.7 points, eight rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Wilson was named the Rookie of the Year after an impressive season. In her second season, she suffered an ankle injury that forced her to miss four weeks. She still put up productive numbers that season, averaging 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Wilson had a breakout season in 2020, averaging 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and a league-leading two blocks per game. She led the Aces to an 18-4 record as they secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Wilson went on to win her first MVP award in just her third WNBA season.
A’ja Wilson will continue to fight for Black women
Even though Wilson has had a lot of success so far in her basketball career, that does not take away the fact that she is a Black woman living in America. When Breonna Taylor was murdered by police, that caused a lot of unrest across the country. A lot of people spoke out, including athletes and Wilson was one of those athletes.
“I can’t even express it enough, how tough it is, and just how disgusted that I am. But this has not stopped the fight; this will never stop my fight. This is making me want to push through even more, because Black women deserve so much better than what is going on right now,” she said. Along with so many others, Wilson was fed up regarding Taylor’s case.
“Emotionally, I am heartbroken. I am angry. But then at the same time, you know, I can’t be angry at this because I saw it coming. There’s no surprise. The element of surprise is out of my mind at this point. I’m disgusted. And I hate that Breonna Taylor didn’t get justice,” she said. Wilson made it known that she’s going to continue to stand up and fight for Black women, and she’s going to use her platform to do that. She will have an impact on and off the court.