With WNBA All-Star Weekend 2022 complete, we at Made for the W wanted to get into how amazing the experience was alongside the 23 women who make up the North America Jordan Brand Women’s Collective. Chicago welcomed us with open arms, as we were able to experience firsthand how Jordan Brand continues to amplify women’s contributions to the culture of basketball by creating specific programming for both hoopers and spectators, curating conversations, and spotlighting the Brand’s WNBA family.
As we navigated the weekend through the lens of the Jordan Women’s Collective, we are now able to reflect on each moment and the purpose behind it. With direct access to programming and various moments throughout the city for the weekend, we’d like to highlight how the Jordan Women’s Collective is continuing its mission to be impactful in how they show up for women in sports.
They set the weekend off Thursday afternoon with an intimate brunch that brought together the three cohorts of the Jordan Women’s Collective, from New York to Los Angeles to of course, the home of WNBA ASW ’22, Chicago. They all pulled up to the infamous MJ Mansion, with the 23 glistening on the welcome gate. Being able to connect amongst one another and come together in sisterhood was the perfect beginning to what would be a weekend full of bonding and camaraderie.
Later that evening, we pulled up to an exclusive Nina Chanel Friends & Family Launch event hosted by SVRN, where all were able to see and purchase pieces from Nina Chanel’s collaboration with Jordan Brand, ranging from the Air Jordan 2 SE Nina Chanel Abney, both high and low, as well as hoodies, tops, jackets, pants, bras and socks. They sold out of everything very quickly, as we were lucky to be amongst the last to grab these fire Air Jordan 2’s. The artistic aesthetic showed off the infinite talent of photographer, Shaniqwa Jarvis. It was great to see the inclusivity and focus on women, with this collection and each piece presented. The event featured signature drinks surrounding Nina Chanel, an area to view and purchase products, as well as a patio adorned with lights, fire music from the DJ and food laid out for all of the guests. It was the perfect setup for everyone to mingle and network.
Friday evening ushered in the event that everyone hopes to be able to make the list to – the infamous Jordan Brand All-Star party. We walked into The Viceroy, alongside some of the Jordan Women’s Collective as well as some of our favorite Jordan athletes, Satou Sabally and Isabelle Harrison. The energy was welcoming, as we stepped in, and were able to connect with familiar faces and introduce ourselves to new ones. The party made sure to maintain a focus on all of the exemplary women of the Jordan Women’s Collective, by making sure they were received, given priority, and made space for, on both floors. We got a surprise performance by Young Jeezy, where we saw the women of all three cohorts that were present, come together to party and sing along. It was beautiful to witness the NY, LA and CHI cohorts connect as seamlessly like they did. We were able to feel how these moments were curated and created specifically for them and helped shape their experience of how they see themselves and one another.
Saturday afternoon set forth a daylong of activities at the Jordan Brand space for the collective and special guests invited, us being one of them. This space consisted of options surrounding around wellness, beauty, sport, and leisure – ranging from massages, yoga, beauty stations, basketball skills workouts, and a Jordan board to sign that you were indeed there to experience a day filled with engaging activities. Amidst all of this, an exclusive fireside chat took place with special guest speakers such as Bephie, Co-Owner of Union Los Angeles and founder of Bephie’s Beauty Supply, as well as the likes of Jasmine Jordan, who has formed her own legacy as she consistently invests in women in sports under the Jordan Brand umbrella. Jordan Brand’s very own athlete, Satou Sabally was also a guest speaker, and is someone who exemplifies true passion on and off the court, as an avid advocate for women in sports. The representation was in itself inspiring, as a panel and audience, both full of women and male allies, anxiously awaited each woman’s story.
We had the chance to speak to Ana Sierra, founder of ASWBL, a Chicago Women’s Pro-Am, following the eventful weekend. In asking her how Jordan Brand has aided in elevating herself and her brand, she responded that, “being a part of the Women’s Collective has amplified her story and platform, along with expanding the network with others and aiding in pooling resources.” She said that, “Jordan Brand has shown a lot of support in various departments, ranging from apparel, communications, and events.” When asked what this WNBA All-Star experience was like, Ana stated that, “it was a weekend full of dreams, unfolding right in front of me. From being in community with top-shot executives, experiencing a thorough introduction to one another in the Women’s Collective, and the ability to truly bond with one another – it was beyond magical.” She added that she, “loves how Jordan Brand invested into a diverse group of women in choosing the members of the inaugural class of the Jordan Woman’s Collective.” The diversity is represented from backgrounds, occupations, ethnicities, and locations. Even though she currently resides in Chicago, Ana was able to deeply connect with members of the New York cohort as well and share stories around her upbringing in the city.. Breaking bread and bonding with women from both her hometown and her current town gave her the ability to immerse herself in what is to her “the best of both worlds”.
Saturday morning’s energy spilled over into Foot Locker’s ‘House of Hoops’ panel discussion, moderated by Jordan Women’s Collective very own, Kirsten Corley Bennett from the Chicago cohort. Kirsten made World of BOBY, to carry out the initiative to ensure her daughters and other children felt seen, heard, and valued, in the fashion realm, to be inclusive of all sizes, textures, and shades. Her purpose in doing so was to create a safe space for children’s apparel to include Black children as well as Black mothers. Featured on the panel was Jordan Brand WNBA athlete Dana Evans of the Chicago Sky and Don C, a Chicago fashion icon in the realm of street wear, who also hails from Chicago, they discussed the growth of women in sports, as they acknowledged the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and what it means to them.
Sunday was the finale of an amazing weekend commemorating WNBA All-Star ’22, with the WNBA All-Star game itself, hosted at Chicago Sky’s home, the Wintrust Arena. We were able to witness Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles last All-Star games as WNBA pillars, as they were given standing ovations and deserving flowers to celebrate the imprint they have left the game. Team Wilson won against Team Stewart, 132-112, with Kelsey Plum taking the MVP home. Kelsey scored 30 points to tie Maya Moore’s All-Star Game record for points.
As the weekend came to a close for this year’s All-Star weekend, we reflected on how the city of Chicago was such a gracious and inviting host and it felt full circle to be able to experience this in tandem with the North America’s Women’s Collective members. Even though we had the opportunity to step foot into iconic places that hold such meaning to Chicago’s basketball culture, such as Michael Jordan’s house in Highland Park, it was truly the bonding, connecting, and developing of lifelong relationships that made the weekend so magical. We look forward to seeing what’s next for this inaugural Women’s Collective class and how Jordan Brand will continue to invest and spotlight women’s sports.