Only one name mattered as the WNBA tipped-off its 2020 pandemic bubble season on Saturday: Breonna Taylor.
The New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm took the court at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., with a coordinated effort to #SayHerName to honor and remember the life of Taylor who was killed by Louisville police on March 13 in her own apartment. Taylor was shot eight times as plainclothes cops were executing a no-knock search warrant.
No charges have been filed against the officers involved.
“We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor,” Liberty point guard Layshia Clarendon said in a pregame speech, “an outstanding EMT [emergency medical technician] who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home. Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around her. We are also dedicating this season to the Say Her Name campaign, a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice for Black women. Black women who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice who do not have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name. ... we will be a voice for the voiceless.”
Storm star Breanna Stewart then took the mic to announce the two teams would observe a 26-second moment of recognition for Taylor. She was just 26 years old when she was killed.
In addition to the pregame ceremony devoted to Taylor, players from both teams wore her name on the back of their jerseys below their own name. Coaches and support staff wore black T-shirts with “Say Her Name” on the back and Black Lives Matter on the front.
Taylor’s name on the back of jerseys will be standard across all the WNBA teams for the 22-game regular season and playoffs in the league’s “Wubble” season.
The WNBA’s social justice initiatives also included players from both teams leaving the court for their locker rooms during the playing of the national anthem.
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