WNBA Champion Chelsea Gray Is Having Her Moment

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 09: Chelsea Gray arrives as adidas debuts its brand campaign with a star-studded roster of athletes at Resorts World Las Vegas on February 09, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for adidas)

Three-time WNBA champion and five-time All-Star Chelsea Gray of the Las Vegas Aces is having her moment.

And rightfully so.

Not only is she fresh off of two back-to-back WNBA Championships, the Adidas athlete recently joined the ACC Network (ACCN) as a college basketball analyst. So of course she took the time to enjoy the fruits of her labor, in her city (Las Vegas, that is), during one of the biggest sporting events in the world — the Super Bowl. And she couldn’t be prouder to represent.

“When I first signed here, the factor about coming here is it’s a big small town,” she tells ESSENCE at an Adidas gifting suite at the Conrad Hotel in Las Vegas. “Everybody is coming here now. Obviously it had entertainment and gambling, but you’re seeing the intersection of the workforce with tech, and then you have music, and then you have sport, and all of that is kind of combined. And so it’s been pretty cool to be a part of that and be a part of that growth.”

Gray also describes the joy of being a part of winning culture that makes her time in Vegas magical. “We brought the first professional championship here in Las Vegas,” she beams. “And being a part of history, you are able to write your name that you are a part of making history, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

A talent like Gray doesn’t just happen overnight, but with a lot of resilience, hard work and love of the game. “I had a lot of brothers that really were into sports — basketball, football, baseball,” she recalls of how her love of sport developed at a young age. “So I was just surrounded by sports all the time… I just really gravitated to the competition of it, being able to be outside.”

In addition to her WNBA accolades, Gray was an All-American in college at Duke, guiding the Blue Devils to two ACC Tournament Championships, three ACC regular season titles and three trips to the NCAA Elite Eight during her four years (2010-14). Holding a hometown connection with fellow point guard Damian Lillard, Adidas even released Gray’s own colorway of the adidas Dame 8 last year.

The connection to Adidas is what sparked her interest in her next act. “I do want to somehow get into music somehow,” she shares. “What that looks like, I don’t really know. And I’m starting to get back into fashion more.”

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