Already have an account?
Get back to the

Las Vegas Aces Star A’ja Wilson on How the WNBA Will Continue to ‘Break the Glass Ceiling’ (Exclusive)

Love the Las Vegas Aces or hate them, there’s never been a question that their star A’ja Wilson understands the moment.

Wilson, 27, is a two-time WNBA MVP, two-time WNBA champion and a five-time All-Star. As one of the faces of a league burgeoning in popularity, she’s also vocal about continuing to grow it.

“I think every single season I feel like I’m planting seeds for, not just for myself and the team, but for the next generation,” she exclusively told Us Weekly at the TIME100 Gala in New York City on Thursday, April 25. “To be able to not go through the things that we went through the year before and continue to just invest in myself and my team is something huge.”

The Aces drafted Wilson No. 1 overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, and in that time, the league has undergone transformational change, as she alluded to. Players signed a new collective bargaining agreement in 2020 that raised salaries across the board and created numerous opportunities for players to earn additional money in bonuses.

Us Weekly Athletes of the Year 2023

Related: Us Weekly’s Athletes of the Year: A'ja Wilson, Angel Reese and More

Over the last few seasons, the WNBA has also expanded access to chartered flights and franchises have begun investing heavily in state-of-the-art facilities. As player compensation and amenities have improved, viewership and attendance numbers have also soared.

A'ja Wilson on How the WNBA Will Continue to Break the Glass Ceiling Over Us 2
A’ja Wilson #22 of the Las Vegas Aces celebrates with the MVP trophy after defeating the New York Liberty during Game Four of the 2023 WNBA Finals at Barclays Center on October 18, 2023 in New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Attendance at WNBA games jumped 16 percent in 2023 compared to the year before as more total fans attended games than in any of the past 13 seasons. Earlier this month, 2.45 million people tuned into the WNBA Draft, more than tripling the previous record.

“I think we have a lot of eyes on us, obviously, now. So now it’s time to kind of be like, ‘No, this is a reason why you’re watching us,’” Wilson added. “And every single year I try to be better in that.”

With the league seeing an infusion of star power over the next couple years, viewership and attendance should continue to increase. Caitlin Clark mania has already carried over in the WNBA, as the rookie is causing ticket prices to soar around the league for games against her new team, the Indiana Fever. Big draws like Paige Bueckers, Azzi Fudd and eventually Juju Watkins will add to the enthusiasm as well.

2024 WNBA Draft

Related: WNBA Draft 2024 Red Carpet: See Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and More

Over the past few years, the WNBA has also seen investment from high-profile owners. Dwyane Wade became part-owner of the Chicago Sky last year, and Alex Rodriguez is one of the owners of the Minnesota Lynx. Seattle Storm legend and future Hall of Famer Sue Bird joined the Storm’s ownership group this week, and Renee Montgomery is part-owner of her former team, the Atlanta Dream.

“We’re going to continue to hope that people continue to invest in us,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of eyes on us, a lot of people that are trying to pay attention. So now it’s kind of, ‘Put your money where your mouth is and invest in us and show that you want to be a part of the change,’ and that’s the way we can continue to break this glass ceiling that’s over us.”

The WNBA regular season tips off on Tuesday, May 14.

With reporting by Andrew Nodell

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!