On Monday, Michael Jordan announced that the Jordan Brand and its parent company, Nike, will build a partnership with WNBA and its 11 emerging players, its largest female roster ever. This endorsement group features Maya Moore, Kia Nurse, Asia Durr, Satou Sabally, Chelsea Dungee, Aerial Powers, Crystal Dangerfield, Arella Karin Guirantes, Te’a Cooper, Dearica Hamby, and Jordin Canada.
“The world needs female voices, and we can’t ignore that, or else we’re not growing,” Jordan said in a statement. “The Jordan Brand is committed to giving women a platform to amplify their voices, which influence, inspire, and push culture forward.”
In addition to these female athletes become endorsers for the Brand, Nike also announced the launch of a new creative project featuring these athletes, aiming to celebrate WNBA players in honor of the 25-year anniversary of the league.
On Tuesday, the Jordan Brand and Nike released a portrait series spotlighting these 11 women, with Jordan appearing in a few of the photos alongside them. The black-and-white photo series was photographed by Ming Smith, the first black female photographer to have her work acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
“Representation really matters at this point in time,” said Jordin Canada, a point guard for the Seattle Storm. “To have 11 Black women be a part of this brand allows the younger generation and younger women to see that they can be like us – they can have that opportunity. I didn’t see that growing up.”
Partnering with WNBA players is not only a sign that the Jordan Brand is committed to fighting for gender equality. It also showcased the Brand’s increasing commitment to creating change by influencing and impacting society, and more specifically, amplifying black voices and stories and communities.
WNBA players, teams, and even the league itself, are famous for their dedication to social justice and activism. In 2020, teams publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement, dedicating the season to Breonna Taylor and the Say Her Name campaign. They also campaigned for the #WeGotUsChallenge, an initiative to support black-owned businesses. WNBA players have proven again and again that they are willing and able to fight for social justice by educating and stirring up the communities around them.
“We don’t just stick to our sport,” Crystal Dangerfield, a point guard for the Minnesota Lynx, said. “We’re vocal in the league, as a whole, and we’re going to bring it to the community — to leave things better than we found them.”
These 11 women were not chosen for this partnership only because they are incredible athletes. They were chosen because they fight for what they believe in. They use their platforms for good, advocating for and educating their communities about racial and gender equality. These women were chosen because they are committed to making a difference, both on and off the court.