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Q&A: Aces star A'ja Wilson on the Raiders, visiting Allegiant Stadium and more


Not only has A'ja Wilson taken the city of Las Vegas by storm, she's become one of the most dominant forces in the entire WNBA.

The power forward from South Carolina was the number one pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, as well as the first pick for the Aces organization after relocating and rebranding from San Antonio. Wilson was a national champion, three-time All-American, AP, John Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year Award winner coming into the new Las Vegas organization that went 8-26 the year prior. In Wilson's third season in the WNBA, she led the Aces to the Finals, led the league in blocks and was the 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player.

Even at 24 years old, Wilson has transcended women's basketball so much that her alma mater unveiled a statue of her outside of Colonial Life Arena on Martin Luther King Jr. Day earlier this year.

I sat down with Wilson and asked her a few questions about her enjoyment of experiencing professional sports in Las Vegas and her excitement of becoming an Olympian.

Levi Edwards: What's your relationship with Raiders receiver and fellow South Carolina Gamecock Bryan Edwards?

A'ja Wilson: We were pretty much in the same class (at South Carolina). When I heard he was getting drafted out here it was crazy because we were like,' Dang, two South Carolina kids are now out here in Vegas.' Both teams are fairly new (to Las Vegas) so it's dope to have that. But it's dope when you have another Gamecock on the field or on the court, so I'm always so proud of him.

LE: How excited are you to have the opportunity to go to a Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium with fans?

AW: Oh my gosh, I went there for a tour, and it blew me away. I am so excited to finally get there once we have fans there, and the energy is going to be so crazy. I'm not even a huge football fan like that, I don't understand nothing that's going on, but the energy and the vibe is right up my alley, so I cannot wait to be there. Hopefully I can be like a kickoff kid, even though I feel like I'm a little too big for that, but just to be around the energy – I cannot wait.

LE: How was it cranking the siren at a few Vegas Golden Knights games?

AW: It's super dope – I'm not going to toot my own horn, but we're undefeated every time I crank the siren, so at this point I feel like I'm a good luck charm. But that's elite. It's so much fun to be there, and Vegas has been waiting to be a sports town the way that it is. To be apart of it, as an athlete but also as a spectator as well when I go to other games, is a lot of fun.

LE: If you had to pick any Raider to be your teammate in a 2v2 pickup game, who would you take?

AW: I feel like I have to say Bryan or else he's going to get mad at me. I feel that Bryan would be mine. If I had to pair up with a Raider, and we had to hoop, that's going to be my partner in crime right there.

LE: It was revealed Monday that you made the Team USA Women's Basketball roster for the Tokyo Games. How excited are you to be able to represent Team USA this summer?

AW: I'm super excited. This is something that a young girl dreams of – just being an Olympian and to have that title to know that you're elite not only in your respected team, but in the world, in a sense. I'm super excited to be going to Tokyo alongside my teammates as well and just looking to have some fun.

The Las Vegas Aces next home game at Michelob Ultra Arena will be Sunday, in a 2020 WNBA Finals rematch against the Seattle Storm. The game will be aired on ESPN at 1 p.m. PT. The Aces currently have the second best record in the league at 10-3 with Wilson leading the team in scoring averaging 18.5 points per game and eight rebounds per game.

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