Friez: Minnesota is a perfect fit for WNBA All-Star Game
The model franchise of the WNBA is being rightly rewarded this weekend.
I’m talking, of course, about the Minnesota Lynx. Saturday, July 28, the 22 best players in the league will compete in the All-Star Game underneath the Lynx’s four championship banners at the Target Center.
It’s a fitting honor for a team that regularly finds itself in the Finals, and it’s equally as indicative of the fanbase that backs them.
The Lynx saw a 12.3 percent increase in attendance in 2017, according to the league. Minnesota’s average was 10,407, its highest since its inaugural 1999 season, which contributed to a league-record 1.5 million fans throughout the 2017 season. In Game 5 of last season’s Finals, 14,632 faithful showed up to witness the team’s fourth title in seven years.
And this weekend, for the first time, those same hoops fans can see all the best players under the same roof.
Minnesota is familiar with Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus running the Target Center. But now they’ll be joined by the likes of Breanna Stewart, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Liz Cambage with team captains Elena Delle Donne and Candace Parker battling for bragging rights.
In this year’s edition of the game, the classic East vs. West conference format is no more. Instead, Delle Donne and Parker held a draft to select their teams from a pool of the voted All-Stars, and the two sides will tip off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
What’s cool to see is that it matters to Minnesota. I’ve watched basketball-hungry Seattle -- which longs for the return of its SuperSonics -- embrace the Storm, and I’m anticipating a similar crowd on hand in Minneapolis.
After all, what better market to host an All-Star Game than the same one that just embraced Moore’s viral “Wings” billboard, a recreation of the iconic Michael Jordan poster?
Minnesota is the golden child of the WNBA. It’s hard to argue when you look at a trophy case crowded with MVPs and championships hauled in by the dominant stars that rep the Lynx. They do it the right way, and there’s no reason to believe this weekend will be any different.
Minnesota’s blue-chip standard should be on full display alongside the All-Star talent it hosts this weekend. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone.