A’ja Wilson came to what she thought was going to be a meeting with WNBA officials. Instead, she was honored with the 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player trophy surrounded by her teammates in what has been the oddest season in the league’s 24 years.
It’s the first MVP award for the third-year star of the Las Vegas Aces. Her beaming face in the brief ceremony is heartfelt enough, but it’s her emotional address to teammates that’s one of the purest things you’ll see this week.
Las Vegas clinched the No. 1 seed in the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. The Aces will play in the best-of-five semifinal series beginning on Sunday.
The congratulations poured in for Wilson, who averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 block shots and 1.23 steals in 31.7 minutes per game over the 22-game schedule. She is the first South Carolina alumna to earn the award; Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley shared a screenshot of the video call the two had immediately after she got the trophy.
Congrats @_ajawilson22 on your @WNBA MVP!! @GamecockWBB and all of your FAMs are super proud of you! You have always been a champion in our eyes! #STANDUPSC @eva_rakes @TheRCWilsonGrp pic.twitter.com/DNuR4ycnXE— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) September 17, 2020
Fans may not be used to the emotion Wilson, 24, showed in the video. But they are used to her cracking herself up on the Tea With A & Phee podcast she hosts with Minnesota Lynx star Napheesa Collier, who finished fourth in MVP voting. And Wilson is known to do some fun oddball things, like break out in dance and look at her coach in horror (we all remember Bill Laimbeer’s hair choices).
Wilson came into the season as the league’s next great star for both her game and her shining personality. It’s moments like this that show not only is the next great star already here, she has an incredible heart to match.
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