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A’ja Wilson: Aces’ group chat went ‘crazy’ when Tom Brady became owner

Retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady and Las Vegas Aces owner Mark Davis watch players warm up during halftime of a 2022 game at Michelob Ultra Arena. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

NFL legend Tom Brady’s acquisition of an ownership stake in the Las Vegas Aces, finalized Monday, was met with enthusiasm from Aces players, star A’ja Wilson revealed.

When Wilson learned that Brady – a seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback – would become a minority owner of the Aces, her jaw dropped, she said Monday on SiriusXM show “Let’s Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray.”

“Oh man, it was super dope,” she said. “It was super, super cool just to be able just to have someone that matters and cares for us to come in and be like, ‘I wanna help push this needle.’ And it’s something that we always needed.

“We always love when people have a seat at the table, and obviously Tom Brady has a seat at the table and for him to reach out and say, ‘I wanna be a part of this and helping it grow,’ it was truly, truly a lot of fun. I think we were all going in our group chat going crazy, because obviously Kelsey Plum barked at you, which was kind of weird, but now it’s kind of cool. (laughs) … We’re truly thankful.”

Brady, for his part, said it was a “long process” to get approved by the WNBA’s Board of Owners. The announcement of Brady’s intention to join the Aces’ ownership group was announced all the way back in March, but approval came just ahead of the team’s second consecutive WNBA Finals appearance.

Of course, the approval seemed to be a formality, with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert issuing a statement in which she praised the acquisition.

“Obviously women’s sports has meant a lot to me my whole life. I had three older sisters who were all better athletes than I was,” Brady said. “My whole childhood was going to watch them play at the softball fields, at the soccer fields, on the basketball courts. I love women’s sports. I love the empowerment that it gives young women, a great direction.

“Sports teaches us all so much and it’s certainly not reserved for men. And I love that women are getting the type of attention for the incredible athletes that they are in a lot of different sports, tennis, golf and basketball obviously. I love the sport and I love watching you guys play.”

The Late Sub Podcast: Can the USWNT Medal?

The USWNT takes a silly face photo during their team Olympic photo shoot
The USWNT will begin their 2024 Olympic medal hunt on Thursday. (Brad Smith/ISI/Getty Images).

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins discusses WNBA All-Star Weekend, which felt both like a celebration of the league's explosive growth over the past year and a way to set Team USA up for a particularly competitive Summer Olympics.

Later, Watkins previews the field for the upcoming Olympic soccer tournament, nominating her personal "Group of Death" and discussing whether or not the new-era USWNT could still reach medal contention despite their current rebuild under new head coach Emma Hayes.

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Team USA, Germany Play Pre-Olympic Exhibition Game in London

Team USA's 5x5 Basketball Team stands for the National Anthem before Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game
Team USA looks to rebound from Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game loss in an exhibition against Germany today. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball's 5x5 team will tip off in an exhibition against Germany in London this afternoon, getting in one last tune-up before the Summer Olympics begin.

The US is hunting an eighth-straight gold medal this year, with group stage play starting on July 29th.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to face Germany in pre-Olympic exhibition.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to take on Germany in London. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

US to use All-Star loss as fuel

Coming off the weekend's All-Star Game loss, the Olympians are ready to repeat history: They earned their Tokyo gold medal immediately after losing the first Team USA vs. Team WNBA All-Star Game back in 2021.

Breanna Stewart, who led Team USA with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday, said that the defeat "is going to help us tremendously. We don’t get that many game opportunities, [and now] we can go back and watch the film and focus on how we can continue to be better."

Today’s tilt against Germany will see the US work to lock in their defense, particularly in the paint. They'll also lean into their positional versatility before heading to Paris.

WNBA pro Satou Sabally leads Team Germany in today's pre-Olympic exhibition game against Team USA.
WNBA pro Satou Sabally helped Germany to their first-ever Olympic berth. (Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic debutants Germany enter first US clash

The exhibition marks the first-ever US-Germany linkup. The German team will make their Olympic debut in Paris after decades of failing to qualify for major international competitions. Their sixth-place 2023 EuroBasket finish sent them into February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they punched their ticket to the 2024 Games.

Leading Germany's run was two-time WNBA All-Star Satou Sabally, who put up career-high averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with Dallas last season. Her 20-point, 11-rebound double-double was the difference-maker in Germany's must-win 73-71 Olympic qualifying victory over Brazil.

Other German players to watch include 2022 NY Liberty draft-pick — and Sabally's sister — Nyara Sabally, along with Liberty sharpshooter Leonie Fiebich.

Where to watch the Team USA vs. Germany game

Today’s exhibition tips off at 3 PM ET with live coverage on FS1.

1v1 With Kelley O’Hara: USWNT Star Jaedyn Shaw Is Expecting “Dubs All Around”

retired uswnt star kelley o'hara interviewing san diego wave and uswnt forward jaedyn shaw
'1v1' is back with Jaedyn Shaw joining Kelley O'Hara for a conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

In the latest episode of Just Women's Sports' 1v1 With Kelley O'Hara, San Diego Wave and USWNT star Jaedyn Shaw joins two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O'Hara for a one-on-one conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics.

We hear from the 19-year-old Wave FC phenom about her first impressions of new USWNT coach Emma Hayes, her experience with international competition at this point in her young career, and how she's preparing to take on the 2024 Summer Games.

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The 91st: Complete USWNT & Olympic Soccer Preview Featuring Jess McDonald

Logo for JWS USWNT Olympic show The 91st
The latest season of JWS' awarding-winning Olympics show 'The 91st' premieres today. (Just Women's Sports)

We're back! Hosts Jordan Angeli, Duda Pavao, and retired USWNT forward Jess McDonald deliver a full preview of this year's Olympic soccer tournament in Paris.

Watch for full analysis of USWNT manager Emma Hayes's coaching style, this team's shifting identity in this new USWNT era, and a projected starting XI for the team's group stage opener against Zambia. The 91st hosts also break down all three Olympic groups — including top players and teams to track throughout the tournament — plus give their predictions for the medal rounds and individual awards.

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