The Dallas Examiner
Women’s professional basketball is returning to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex after 30 years.
The WNBA’s Dallas Wings were introduced to the area on Nov. 2 at a press conference at College Park Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. This arena, built in 2012 and seats 7,000 people, will be the new home of the Dallas Wings.
“I just always wanted to play basketball in Texas since Cynthia Cooper and the Houston Comets started playing in 1997. And 20 years later, we get to start our franchise in Texas,” said Dallas Wings guard Skylar Diggins. “This area loves sports and I am looking to make this my home in the future. We are the market disrupters. I think we are the team that you don’t want to play. We are not nice. We are going to be in your face the entire game. It’s going to be fun and our team is exciting. To be able to start fresh in this city is amazing and I appreciate the opportunity.”
The team’s colors are blue and yellow and its logo is the wings of a Pegasus, an iconic symbol in the Dallas area.
“The thing with the Pegasus is the powerful wings that give its energy and myth,” said Wings President and CEO David Swatzell. “And it’s those powerful wings that ultimately personify what our team is all about. And what we want to be is an inspirational force. We will blaze new trails with relentless intensity, tough-minded integrity and disruptive creativity.”
On July 2015, the WNBA unanimously approved a plan to move the Tulsa Shock to the DFW area. The team will begin playing during the 2016 season and will debut on May 16. The Wings will be the first women’s basketball team in the area since the Dallas Diamonds of the 1970s and 1980s.
During the conference, UTA President Vistasp Karbhari welcomed the new franchise to the area.
“This arena was built and opened in 2012 with the intent of hosting large scale events, concerts, a lot of athletic events and other attractions that truly unite our Arlington community with its public research university, the largest in North Texas and the model 21st century urban research university,” he said. “We are a part of the fabric of this town and the surrounding Metroplex, a gathering place, a resource for learning, and the new team set to make its debut in 2016 will certainly make it all the reasons area residents have for visiting UTA.”
According to Karbhari, the Dallas Wings will provide great opportunities for fans to visit UTA.
“To have a major sports team housed on our campus, to have the opportunity to watch as we work out practice and to compete, to have our students maybe intern in their offices and for all of us at UTA and this community, to experience the thrill of cheering a professional women’s basketball team right in our own backyard is valuable to this community beyond description,” he said.
Mark Tatum, Chief Operating Officer and the National Basketball Association Deputy Commissioner, said this is an exciting time for women’s basketball.
“What an exciting time for this Dallas/Fort Worth market and the WNBA,” Tatum said. “Dallas/Fort Worth is one of the biggest and most thriving metropolitan cities in the United States and in all of North America and it is going to be an opportunity for the wonderful people and passionate die-hard sports fans in this community to see the very best in the world of women’s basketball. Fans will see how hard these players work on and off the court.”
Next year, the WNBA will celebrate its 20-year anniversary.
“What a thrill it’s going to be to have this team in its inaugural season here in this area line up with the 20-year anniversary of the WNBA,” Tatum said. “The league has never been better, the talent on the court is deeper, the plays on the court has never been more dynamic and greater.”
Bill Cameron, chairman and majority Wings owner stated that he was thrilled and excited to be a part of women’s basketball and offered his thoughts on the team’s energy on the court, as well as its character and commitment to community.
Chris Christian, co-chairman of the team, said the new franchise will bring families closer.
“Hopefully for the thousands and thousands of fathers who have daughters, I hope they have the opportunity to be able to come and bring their daughter to see the greatest athletes in the world,” he said.
Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams hopes to make the area his new home.
“Me and my wife are looking to make this our home for our future,” he said. “It is going to be a family fun atmosphere. We are coming in as friends and not to take over but to work together and build a great franchise. We want to be partners in everything that we do on and off the basketball court.”
Irving native and Baylor alumni Odyssey Sims, who will also play on the team, said she looks forward to playing at home.
“This is where I am from, Irving, Texas, and I look forward to playing here,” Sims said.
Currently, there are 12 WNBA franchises.