Las Vegas-hosted WNBA All-Star Game being praised
Megan Rapinoe and her girlfriend, Sue Bird
Megan Rapinoe and her girlfriend, Sue Bird

The 2019 WNBA All-Star Game was hosted in Las Vegas on July 27, and its LGBTQ presence was strongly felt.

The Women’s National Basketball Association is no stranger to Sin City, what with the Las Vegas Aces playing in the league. In fact, the Aces’ Kayla McBride, Liz Cambage, and A’ja Wilson (who captained Team Wilson) made the All-Star roster, again playing on the same team.

Now, the WNBA has always been known for its strong queer presence on the court, with this year’s All-Star Game being no exception. Amongst several out athletes at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne (captain of Team Delle Donne) took part.

But the league has also always been just as queer off the court, with a signative fanbase amongst queer women. This year we saw that this even includes famous faces, like soccer star Megan Rapinoe and her girlfriend, Sue Bird (herself a famed basketball player).

Support Our Advertisers

All in all, over 9,000 people attended a game that saw Team Wilson beat Team Delle Donne 129-126. Indiana Fever guard Erica Wheeler, of Team Wilson, was named the game’s MVP.

A thrilling game, no doubt, but many were just as excited by what they saw leading up to it. Writes Think Progress:

The host city really pulled out all the stops. Walking around Vegas, there were signs for the All-Star Game everywhere, from billboards to casino walls to public transportation. And none of them included inspirational slogans, the color pink, or rhetoric about supporting women. They weren’t focused on sex appeal, either. The ads just showcased the faces of the most elite women’s basketball players in the world, along with the name, date, and time of the event. Simple, and effective.

The publication also praised how the All-Star Game in Las Vegas saw increased acceptance for lesbian, bisexual, and/or gender nonconforming individuals.

In Las Vegas... married Chicago Sky teammates Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot were both All-Stars. They walked the orange carpet together, and were interviewed about playing against each other. It was wonderful to see their relationship out in the open and celebrated. But it was also wonderful that this was just a fun side story to the main event, a basketball game between the best players in the world.