WNBA Legend Alana Beard To Lead Ownership Group For Oakland WNBA Proposal
Beard Has Officially Partnered With The African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) To Bring A WNBA Expansion Team To Oakland
October 27, 2021, Oakland CA – WNBA Champion and four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard has partnered with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) in pursuit of bringing a WNBA franchise to Oakland. Attorney Jade Smith-Williams, of the law firm Bailey & Glasser, LLP, has also joined as counsel for the group.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity and excited to help bring a WNBA team to Oakland,” Beard said. “The AASEG has done an incredible job of getting us to this point and has garnered tremendous support from influencers in the local community. I am hopeful our vision, passion and collective efforts will lead to the return of professional basketball in Oakland.”
Beard, who spent 15 years playing the WNBA and earned back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year honors, will lead the Oakland WNBA ownership process. Smith-Williams was a local Oakland women’s basketball legend and played professionally overseas. Her law firm will advise the group on its ownership pursuit.
Beard and Smith-Williams will be working closely with Oakland natives, Shonda Scott, and Samantha Wise, accomplished African American businesswomen, and members of the AASEG. Scott is the owner and CEO of 360 Total Concept, a second-generation Oakland business owner, and was a standout player at Holy Names High School in Oakland. Wise is an Oakland Native and an accomplished entrepreneur, community leader, popular podcast host, and corporate leader in the utilities sector.
Beard, along with the AASEG, are also in discussions with several other prominent African American women to join the process soon. The AASEG believes the league will begin very soon to assess markets for expansion teams. However, as highlighted in several local and national media reports, the city of Oakland is proving that it is beyond prepared to bring a team to Oakland.
Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan has been a major proponent of bringing the WNBA to Oakland for over a decade. “I am super excited, and we know that Oakland has a strong community that is ready to support women’s basketball and restore the energy of “Roaracle” at our arena,” Kaplan said. “So, this is one step closer to have a WNBA team in Oakland.”
In a letter to the WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and C.O.O. Christy Hedgpeth, the AASEG highlighted the substantial and important progress they have already achieved, through unanimous votes by the Oakland City Council, The Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and the Joint Powers Authority Commission, in approving a Term Sheet that secures the path for an Oakland WNBA team to play its home games at the historic and centrally located Oakland Arena. The WNBA has reached one of its most popular points since its inception, and the WNBA aligns very closely with Oakland as a leader of the Social Justice platform. Alicia Garza, co-founder of the International Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as Gina Johnson Lillard, Regional Director for Western Region of Mothers of Professional Basketball and mother of NBA superstar, Damian Lillard, have also joined the chorus of strong supporters for this professional sports ownership venture led by African American women.