The WNBA will look and sound just a little different in 2016.
No more Tulsa Shock, for one. And now, a new president will take the helm, following the resignation of Laurel Richie after five years. NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will oversee the WNBA on an interim basis, and a search for a new league president will begin immediately.
Tatum’s first official duty, as it turned out, was to introduce the WNBA’s latest franchise, the Dallas Wings at the DFW Metroplex, a 7,000-seat arena on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington, for the 2016 season.
Richie joined the WNBA in May 2011, becoming the first African-American to lead a major sports league. She’s been recognized as one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Sports by Black Enterprise Magazine, a “Game Changer” by Sports Business Journal, and a “Shot Caller” by Black Girls Rock. She left to pursue for-profit ventures.
Led by WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins, leading scorer and Irving, Texas native Odyssey Sims and 2015 WNBA All-Star Plenette Pierson, the Dallas Wings becomes the newest professional sports franchise in one of the most vibrant sports markets in the U.S.along with Dallas Wings Head Coach Fred Williams, will head the lineup.
“This is an exciting time for the DFW Metroplex as women’s professional basketball returns after 30 years. The next generation of girls and boys will now have a new team of professional athletes to cheer for and inspire by their hard work, commitment, dedication, discipline and the love of competition.”
Bill Cameron, Majority Owner and Chairman, Dallas Wings, in a WNBA statement
According to the WNBA, Texas native Chris Christian, an award winning songwriter/record producer who was a driving force in bringing women’s professional basketball to the DFW Metroplex, will serve as Vice Chairman and Managing partner for the Dallas Wings.
Cameron continued in the statement:
“We are thrilled to bring the WNBA to the DFW Metroplex, home to some of the most passionate basketball fans in the world,” said Tatum. “As we prepare for our historic twentieth season, this is a very exciting time for the league and its teams, and we are pleased that the Dallas Wings will be part of the celebration.”
The Wings, who as the Shock moved from Detroit to Tulsa in 2010, are the first WNBA team to be based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Additionally, the Wings are the first women’s professional team to play in the area since the Women’s Professional Basketball League’s Dallas Diamonds played in Dallas from 1979-1981.
Texas is now home to two WNBA teams — the other being the San Antonio Stars.
The WNBA season typically runs from May through September. Stay tuned to the Token Female for further developments!