As the WNBA season heads for its halfway point, the league announced its 2022 All-Star starters and co-captains. While the 10-name list includes several repeat selections, there are a few young phenoms making their first All-Star appearance.
Per a press release provided to The Root, two of the league’s best young stars will be paired with two of its all-time greats to co-captain the teams. Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson will co-captain with four-time champion Sue Bird, who has announced her retirement and is making her last All-Star appearance. They will play opposite Bird’s Seattle Storm teammate Breanna Stewart, who co-captains alongside 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles, who is set to retire as well and is playing in her final All-Star game.
Also making the team is reigning MVP Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun; the Las Vegas Aces’ Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum, making their first All-Star game; the New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu, also making her first All-Star appearance; the Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike and Chicago Sky superstar Candace Parker, who gets to shine in front of her hometown fans, as the game takes place at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Honestly, this is a really balanced list of the WNBA’s best 10 players. Up next, reserves will be voted on by the league’s head coaches and announced June 28. The captains will then pick their teams on the WNBA All-Star Team Selection Special, which airs Saturday, July 2 at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on ESPN.
“For icons like Sylvia and Sue to be voted into the AT&T WNBA All-Star Game as starters in their 15th and 19th seasons, respectively, is extraordinary,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement. “And when you see the starting lineups dotted with first-time All-Stars like Sabrina Ionescu, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young, it just seems right that Sylvia and Sue—who have said this will be their final season—join A’ja and Breanna as co-captains for an All-Star event that will in some ways symbolize the passing of the torch to a new generation of WNBA stars.”
Engelbert also named Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner an honorary All-Star. Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia since Feb. 17. She was stopped at a Moscow airport when police said they found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage. As calls for the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s release grow louder, the Russian government recently extended her detainment into July.
“During each season of Brittney’s career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star,” Engelbert said. “It is not difficult to imagine that if BG were here with us this season, she would once again be selected and would, no doubt, show off her incredible talents. So, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S.”
The 2022 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game airs Sunday, July 10 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on ABC.