Alana Beard is synonymous with elite WNBA defense. She won Defensive Player of the Year twice and made nine All-Defensive teams. She also averaged a career-best 19.2 points per game in her All-WNBA season of 2006 and made four All-Star Games — all as a member of the Washington Mystics. The final eight seasons of her career were played in Los Angeles with the Sparks and she won the WNBA title in 2016.
Beard is undoubtedly a WNBA legend. She is a big name and that should benefit her newfound efforts to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.
Beard’s involvement was announced on Oct. 28, but the city of Oakland had already made news in July when the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) won a vote by the Oakland city council, giving it a lease for Oakland Arena. It was known at the time that the plan was to bring a WNBA team to that arena. Oakland vice mayor Rebecca Kaplan has been a big supporter of the effort.
Beard made the move from So. Cal to No. Cal after her retirement from the WNBA; she has lived in the Bay Area since 2019. Now she is partnering with AASEG and hopes to be back in the WNBA — as an owner.
In an article by Mechelle Voepel on ESPN.com, Beard is quoted as saying:
As a professional athlete who made the transition into the business world, I understand now more than at any point the importance of having a great team and strong partnerships. ... I’ve always envisioned being an owner of a WNBA team. It made sense to come together to partner on this.
The movement to bring an expansion team to Oakland is now in full force thanks to Beard. Gina Johnson Lillard, the mother of NBA superstar Damian Lillard, is also bringing a lot of energy to the cause.
According to AASEG, the Bay Area has more WNBA fans than eight current WNBA cities.
Extremely humbled by the outpouring of support ! Now, let’s bring the @WNBA to Oakland!! https://t.co/sRPX3wSUNa— Alana Beard (@Alanabeard20) October 28, 2021