LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas is known for its gaudy casinos, lavish shows and over-the-top atmosphere.
One of the most-visited cities in the world, the Nevada hotspot offers a prime attraction for tourists: The bustling Strip, which features more than 30 casinos, including Mandalay Bay.
Inside the resort and casino, past a nightclub, restaurants, poker tables and the vibrant lights of ringing slot machines, is Michelob Ultra Arena – home of the Las Vegas Aces.
The House is ready for Game 2 of the #WNBAFinals😍🤩#RaiseTheStakes pic.twitter.com/f5FKaa6icm— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) September 12, 2022
The House is ready for Game 2 of the #WNBAFinals😍🤩#RaiseTheStakes pic.twitter.com/f5FKaa6icm
With their up-tempo style of play and high-octane offense, the Aces reflect the city they call home. With a WNBA-high 90.4 points per game, the Aces spend four months of the year bringing another brand of flashy excitement to the Strip.
When they leave the court, though, Sin City’s basketball team retreats to a much quieter way of life.
“If I’m relaxing on a day off, I’m probably not leaving the apartment,” Sydney Colson said with a laugh.
If she does venture out, Colson usually spends her free time shopping or going to see a movie – but it has to be something worth seeing on the big screen to get her to journey to a theater.
“I want to go see the new Jordan Peele movie ‘Nope,’ and ‘The Woman King’ with Viola Davis,” Colson said. “Action-type stuff, I want to see on the big screen.”
Kelsey Plum is another player who knows the comforts of home well. She missed the 2020 season with a torn Achilles, and that coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic kept her indoors.
Now, Plum is taking advantage of her health – both on the court and off. But like Colson, she keeps things relaxed.
For locals, Las Vegas is entirely different than it is for tourists.
“All the people who come here stay on the Strip, and that’s great, but I haven’t been on the Strip in years,” Plum said. “I mean, I play here, but I don’t really stay here. So, (if you live in Vegas), it’s chill. There’s a great energy, and a lot of cool people here.”
When she has the time, Plum likes to explore the city via food. Trying out restaurants off the beaten path is her favorite thing to do in Las Vegas.
“I recently went to this place called Thai Curry, and it was really good,” she said. “It was in a strip-mall type place. I got pad Thai and curry, and it was awesome.”
🤓 pic.twitter.com/fwdPYVuEiW— Aisha Sheppard (@____blessed2) June 8, 2022
Rookie Aisha Sheppard is new to the WNBA and to Las Vegas. She still likes to venture out to the more crowded parts of town, mostly to indulge in her favorite hobby – shopping.
The rookie didn’t get to experiment much with fashion in college, so now she loves the art of a tunnel fit.
“My style is very versatile,” she said. “I have a couple of different signature pieces, but then I can also go to H&M and just wear a regular outfit and I can still make it my own.”
Her favorite purchase to date is a pair of Off-White sunglasses. The glasses were a splurge, which Sheppard said she doesn’t normally do. And though she’s explored places like Caesars Palace to look in shops, walking the Strip is also something the rookie doesn’t do.
Instead, like Colson and Plum, she prefers to hang out in the more relaxing parts of the city.
“It’s kind of the calm before the storm, and the calm is everywhere outside of the Strip, or downtown,” she said. “And then in the Strip then you’ll run into a little bit of that chaos.”
Being a resident, Jackie Young said, is like “not even living in Vegas.” At least not in the stereotypical Sin City style.
The craziest place Young goes? TopGolf.
It’s one of her favorite activities to do in the city, and while she won’t go as far as to say she’s good at it, Young said she can get some distance on the ball when she swings.
TopGolf is an activity the Aces sometimes do together. Young couldn’t pinpoint the best player on the team, but she was quick to call out her least-skilled teammate.
“A’ja is the worst,” she said with a smile.
Wilson is good at a lot of things – and she has brand new Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player trophies to prove it – but the Aces star admitted that her talents do not extend to TopGolf.
“That is a true statement,” Wilson said with a laugh. “I am in last place when it comes to TopGolf. It is not my thing.”
Vegas, though — Vegas is her thing.
This is Wilson’s fifth year in the WNBA, and all of those have been spent with the Aces. She has great affection for both her team and for the city in which she plays.
“My favorite thing about living in Vegas is there’s always something to do,” she said. “But yet if you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to do anything. You can still chill. You can go out by the pool, you could just stay in your house and go or just people watch. I think that’s the beautiful thing.
“I love living in Las Vegas.”
Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.