When New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu was growing up, young boys on the court told her she “shouldn’t be playing with [them].” Now, her signature sneakers grace the feet of male and female hoopers alike — and their popularity transcends the sport of basketball.

Ionescu’s shoes, the Sabrina 1s, released Sept. 1 as Nike’s first unisex shoe collection. She and fellow WNBA star Elena Delle Donne are the first women in a decade to collaborate on signature sneaker designs with Nike.

Since their release, Sabrina 1s have been spotted on the court in the NBA. Mikal Bridges, Jrue Holiday, DaQuan Jeffries and Jordan Poole are among the stars seen sporting Ionescu’s sneakers. Even NBA officials have supported the Sabrina 1s.

Brooklyn Nets forward Bridges rocked Sabrina 1s before their release, wearing them to FIBA World Cup practices and even to Nets media day.

“Yes [I’ll be wearing Sabrinas this season] — pretty much them and I’m going to test out those Devin Booker 1s when they come out, too,” Bridges told The Sporting News.

On July 23, when Ionescu threw a ceremonial first pitch during the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees players were photographed wearing Sabrina 1 spikes in the dugout, and Nike gifted her with a pair to celebrate her accomplishment. Even before their release, Ionescu’s signature shoes had escaped the basketball court.

When designing her sneakers, Ionescu told CBS Mornings that she set out to make a shoe for anyone, regardless of gender — and she hit her mark.

“When I was in the process of designing this shoe I wanted anyone anywhere to be able to put this shoe on and accomplish whatever it is that they wanted to,” Ionescu said.

Brooklyn Nets wing Mikal Bridges wears Sabrina 1s during an Oct. 25 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA star Kawhi Leonard is picking up what WNBA players are putting down.

The Los Angeles Clippers forward has incorporated the step-through move, which involves legally picking up the pivot foot and stepping around a defender to drive to the basket, into his game. When asked about the move, Leonard said he first noticed the move in the WNBA.

“A lot of WNBA players do it. I thought it was just a WNBA rule at first, but I realized that you could pick up that back foot,” he said.

DeWanna Bonner, one of the leading scorers for the Connecticut Sun, has made it her signature move.

A’ja Wilson also used the deceptive move effectively for the Las Vegas Aces during the WNBA Finals against the New York Liberty.

The moment Brad Stevens was promoted to president of basketball operations, the speculation began: who would be the Celtics’ next head coach? 

Among those whose name has been thrown into the mix is Kara Lawson, a former Celtics assistant, 13-year WNBA vet, and the current head coach of the Duke women’s basketball team. 

As CJ McMahon of Boardroom describes it, hiring Lawson wouldn’t just be monumental for the Celtics, but for the trajectory of sports in America as a whole.

“There’s a good chance we really do witness history in the weeks to come,” he writes. “And even if we don’t, the fact that female candidates are finally being seriously considered for top jobs with storied franchises is a huge and encouraging step forward.”

As McMahon notes, the conversation around women in the NBA has shifted in recent years, with many seeing it as a matter of when rather than if the league will ever welcome a female head coach. The consensus is that Lawson has the resume to get her there. 

A former WNBA champion and first-round pick, Lawson was reportedly a favorite in the Celtics’ locker room during her stint as an assistant coach during the 2019-20 season. 

Stevens himself even hinted at the possibility of Lawson when discussing the quality of female candidates for head coaching positions in the NBA. 

Lawson, for her part, said “you can chase a lot of rabbits down a lot of holes” when it comes to coaching speculation, saying she loved her time in Boston without explicitly shutting down the rumors.

Spurs’ assistant Becky Hammon is another name to be thrown into the Celtics rumor pool. Like Lawson, she is a former WNBA star with a deep resume both playing and coaching the game.

The fact that both Hammon and Lawson are both former players is certainly a plus, and Lawson herself has said that she felt a personal connection with both Jasyon Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ two franchise stars.

Whether or not Lawson gets — or even takes — the job, the growing consensus amongst the league is clear: a woman will be holding the big clipboard soon, and odds are she’ll be someone WNBA fans recognize. 

The NBA Academy has announced an international women’s virtual program that will connect with more than 40 of the top female, high-school age prospects from outside the U.S.

Selected participants will take part in an eight-week basketball and leadership development program, allowing them to connect with their peers under the guidance of current and former WNBA players and the WNBA Academy staff.

Players will receive weekly virtual basketball lessons, instructions and challenges featuring current and former WNBA players as part of the program’s on-court curriculum. A variety of shooting, ball handling and conditioning drills meant to promote holistic skill development will be featured.

The top performing athletes will be considered for future in-person basketball development camps and showcases.

Any parent or legal guardian interested in submitting an application for their child should use the sign up page by June 18. Participants will be announced in June, with the program starting in July and running through August. 

For more information, check out the video below:


USC has named Cleveland Cavaliers’ assistant Lindsay Gottlieb as the new women’s basketball head coach.

Gottlieb signed a four year contract with the Cavaliers in 2019, making her the first former NCAA women’s head coach to be hired by an NBA team. Prior to that, she was the head coach at Cal where she led the Golden Bears to a Final Four berth and a Pac-12 regular-season title in 2013. 

Reportedly, USC was aggressive in pursuing Gottlieb to bring her back to the Pac-12 conference in hopes of restoring USC basketball to an elite level. 

Gottlieb brings with her even more coaching experience, having led UCSB to the NCAA and WNIT tournaments before being hired away by Cal. Several of her former athletes, including New York’s Layshia Clarendon and Los Angeles’ Kristine Anigwe, have had successful careers in the WNBA.

The Mambacita game is strong.

In honor of Gianna Bryant’s 15th birthday, Vanessa Bryant teamed up with DANNIJO, a female-owned clothing company, to feature a “Mambacita” clothing line. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the line go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, which is “dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports.” In less than a day, all of the apparel was sold out.

Many pro athletes were able to snag some gear while it was still on the shelves.

Former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo wrote on Instagram that “honoring [Gigi’s] legacy of competitiveness and kindness is forever.”

Jewell Loyd, guard for the Seattle Storm and founder of the Gold Mamba Army, posted a photo reminding everyone of what the “Mamba Mentality” entails.

Newly minted Chicago Sky forward and TNT analyst Candace Parker rocked Kobe 1 shoes along with the full fit.

Two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and USWNT star Carli Lloyd donned the hoodie and the sweatpants.

Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers also sported the apparel heading into their game on May 2.

Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving bought the gear for his entire Brooklyn Nets team. File that under things you love to see.

According to Vanessa Bryant, Devin Booker bought gear for both the Phoenix Suns and the Mercury.

Steph Curry talked about carrying on Gigi’s legacy “in her honor” in a press conference on her birthday.

“I was honored, and I know our whole team was, to be a part of celebrating her,” the Golden State Warriors star said.