The Las Vegas Aces hit the Las Vegas strip after securing their place as one of the greatest teams in WNBA history last week.
The Aces became the first team to repeat as champions in 21 years, beating the New York Liberty 70-69 in Game 4 of the Finals last Wednesday night.
And the franchise enjoyed their victory parade along the streets of Sin City Monday night.
This is the second year in a row the Aces paraded down Las Vegas Boulevard, but this time they ended at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena.
Last year, the parade ended near the Bellagio fountains, where fans jammed both sides of the Strip. The route was changed this year because of construction for next month’s Formula One race.
The Aces hit the Las Vegas strip after becoming one of the greatest teams in WNBA history
The franchise celebrated their second consecutive WNBA Championship title Monday
The Aces shutdown the Las Vegas strip for their victory parade on an open-top bus
Organizing championship parades is something Las Vegas officials are getting used to. This was the third in 13 months. The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights partied on the Strip and at Toshiba Plaza in June after winning the Stanley Cup.
A’ja Wilson, who wore a brace on her left wrist, was greeted by chants of ‘MVP.’ She is a two-time regular-season MVP, but lost out in a close vote this season to the Liberty’s Breanna Stewart.
Wilson was offered a consolation prize in the form of Finals MVP, but she appeared to poke fun at missing out on the regular-season title as she wore a shirt showing the one vote she received for fourth place in the race on the back.
She showed off the WNBA Championship trophy from the team’s open-top bus as it made its way along the strip.
She was joined by her star teammates, including Kelsey Plum, who puffed on a cigar, even walking on to the stage smoking it.
Other members of the team donned commemorative t-shirts that read, ‘Back to Back,’ and ‘Aces vs Everybody.’
Owner Mark Davis donned all-white again as pumped his fist triumphantly at the crowd that had gather to celebrate the victory.
Recording artist 2 Chainz took the stage and performed after the Aces’ speeches, which included vows to achieve their feat for a third time.
A’ja Wilson was greeted with chants of ‘MVP’ as she lifted the WNBA Championship trophy
Kelsey Plym puffed on a cigar, even walking on to the party stage smoking it
Plum celebrates with fans who had gathered in Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena
On satge, All-Star guard Plum declared that the team was ‘going to keep coming back’
Owner Mark Davis donned all-white again as pumped his fist triumphantly at the crowd
Guard Chelsea Gray celebrates in a commemorative championship t-shirt
Head coach Becky Hammon hailed A’ja Wilson as ‘the GOAT of the GOATs’
Alysha Clark donned a t-shirt that read, ‘Aces vs. Everybody’ for the occasion
‘It´s hard to win a championship,’ owner Mark Davis said. ‘It´s even harder to repeat.’
The Aces made it clear from the front office to the players they weren’t ready to stop, and Las Vegas has the kind of roster to make these parades a regular ritual.
‘We´re going to keep coming back, and everybody hates it,’ said All-Star guard Plum.
‘Last year, (Plum) said we´re just getting started,’ All-Star point guard Chelsea Gray said. ‘Let´s run that (expletive) back.’
‘I played against all the GOATs,’ Aces coach Becky Hammon said. ‘This is going to be the GOAT of the GOATs. She’s that good. I’m trying to think of an NBA comp and I’m trying to think of a WNBA comp, and there’s nobody like A’ja Wilson.’
The Aces had, of course, celebrated immediately after their Finals win last week in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilson and co. didn’t hold back on the spray as they brought out the champagne to enjoy the sweet taste of victory.
Several of the Aces stars danced on the court as they waited to lift the championship trophy, with owner Mark Davis, who also owns NFL team the Las Vegas Raiders, joining in with some spectacular dad-dancing.
Davis joined his triumphant team for the celebrations on the double decker bus
Finals MVP Wilson waves to the supporters gathered at the celebration’s stage
His awkward moves quickly went viral on social media with one user joking: ‘It’s giving ‘I’m a little lad who likes berries and cream.”
The American businessman, 68, wearing an all-white suit, basked in the glory of his team’s second title and was seen captured beaming while talking to his players.
Under Davis, the Aces won their first title in franchise history by beating the Connecticut Sun 3-1 last year.
The entire squad also invaded the postgame press conference in their commemorative t-shirts, clutching gold bottles of champagne and blaring music from a speaker.
Back in the locker room, they donned ski goggles and let the fizz spray as they poured champagne and beer all over each other.
They also continued their dancing – this time without Davis and his hilarious moves – with one player even twerking while another slapped her derriere.
The Aces joined the Los Angeles Sparks (2001-02) and the Houston Comets (1997-2000) as the only teams in league history to win consecutive titles.
‘It´s not easy, as you know. This is what it’s all about,’ Wilson said. ‘Not a lot of people get to do it. To be short-handed and win is amazing. It makes the win that much better. It’s hard to get back to the Finals to win again.’
New York drew dozens of celebrities to the game, including basketball royalty Sue Bird and Dawn Staley – the South Carolina coach who loudly cheered on her former star player, Wilson. The two embraced in a long hug after the game.
Also in attendance were Liberty Ring of Honor members Vickie Johnson and Sue Wicks, and actors Jennifer Connelly, Issa Rae and Jason Sudeikis.
Las Vegas did it without starters Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes, who were both sidelined with foot injuries suffered in Game 3. Gray, the 2022 WNBA Finals MVP, was constantly in the ear of her teammates during timeouts and shouting encouragement from the sideline. Las Vegas was also still missing veteran Candace Parker, who had foot surgery in late July.
The freshly re-crowned champions made sure to celebrate their feat in style postgame
The Aces didn’t hold back on the spray as they brought out the champagne to enjoy the win
‘We´ve been facing adversity all season, playing without different players. … We have some professional fighters,’ said Alysha Clark, who was pressed into the starting lineup Wednesday. ‘To weather the storm of everything we went through, to show up every single day. To be in this moment right now and do it together, it speaks volumes about us, our chemistry.’
Coach Becky Hammon said this was the closest team she has ever been around. The entire team attended the postgame news conference and cheered every answer, especially those by Wilson, the Finals MVP, who finished third in the regular-season MVP balloting.
With the game tied at 64, Las Vegas scored six straight points, including the first four by Jackie Young, to go ahead 70-64 with 1:26 left.
Courtney Vandersloot hit a 3-pointer on New York’s next possession, then stole the ball from Kelsey Plum, which led to Sabrina Ionescu’s foul-line jumper to get the Liberty within one with 41.7 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Las Vegas worked the shot clock down before Hammon called timeout with 3 seconds left on the shot clock. The Aces got the ball to Wilson on a lob, but Breanna Stewart blocked the shot, giving New York one last chance.
After a timeout with 8.8 seconds left, the Liberty got the ball to Stewart, who was double-teamed. The ball swung over to Vandersloot in the corner, but her shot missed badly, setting off a wild celebration by the Aces at midcourt.
A’ja Wilson donned a t-shirt that read, ‘MVPeriodt,’ after being named Finals MVP
‘It’s a play we´ve ran before, get the ball to Stewie´s hand,’ Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. ‘Sometimes they work, sometimes they don´t. We got it where we wanted to, but didn´t make it.’
Vandersloot finished with 19 points and Betnijah Laney added 15 for New York.
Hammon said before the game she would be ‘throwing the kitchen sink at (the Liberty), see what sticks, see what works.’
The Aces rotated defenses, which stymied New York after the Liberty scored 23 points in the first quarter.