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Ari Chambers says WNBA fashion brings ‘pride to the game’

Aces star A'ja Wilson arrives for Game 5 of the 2021 WNBA semifinals. (Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images)

As the WNBA grows in popularity, so does the players’ fashion game, with many athletes becoming famous for their pregame looks.

Ari Chambers, the founder of women’s sports platform HighlightHER, stopped by the NETLIFE podcast this week to talk women’s basketball with South Carolina head coach and host Dawn Staley, including the WNBA’s elevated style.

The league took a big step toward cementing its place in the fashion landscape when it dropped the iconic orange hoodie, which Sports Business Journal named the Best Fashion Statement of 2020. Chambers attributes the popularity of the sweatshirt to its simplicity and the centering of the league’s logo.

“Orange is a disruptive color,” she says. “People are drawn to it.”

Chambers also credits NBA players and other cultural figures for popularizing the look.

“We see Kobe [Bryant] on the sidelines with Gigi [Bryant] rocking it and it makes it instantly cool,” Chambers says. “We had so long begged for merch, and when we finally got one, it was a cool piece.”

With their pregame outfits, WNBA players have also helped put the league on the style map.

“They’re fly. I am glad we have photographers in the tunnel now,” Chambers says. “It brings more pride to the game because you see players getting dressed, being more intentional behind their fits and rising to the top.”

Chambers shouts out Diamond DeShields, calling her style impeccable, and Staley and Chambers both shower praise on A’ja Wilson’s now-famous jersey dresses.

Staley says her personal favorite look was the Gamecocks outfit Kelsey Plum wore to a Las Vegas Aces game after losing a bet with Wilson. Duke alum Chelsea Gray will be subjected to the same bet this year, according to Staley.

“I am going to do the honors and pick her outfit out and send it to A’ja to give to her,” Staley says.

For more on the WNBA’s fashion evolution and cultural influence, listen to the latest episode of NETLIFE for the full conversation between Chambers and Staley.