On November 16 the Oakland City Council voted unanimously for the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) to enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA), for the group to buy the City of Oakland’s half interest in the Coliseum Complex, reported the Oakland Post.
After lengthy conversations with the City Council members in February 2021, the AASEG received an impressive (6-0-2) vote to move forward with the process.
Many new supporters have linked up and joined the group’s efforts to bring the WNBA to Oakland, along with other housing and economic opportunities.
WNBA Champion and four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard is one of the recent supporters who have joined the group, said the Post.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity and excited to help bring a WNBA team to Oakland. The AASEG has done an incredible job of getting us to this point and has garnered tremendous support from influencers in the local community. I am hopeful our vision, passion and collective efforts will lead to the return of professional basketball in Oakland,” said Beard.
Other ex-WNBA players have banded with Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and a host of supporters. Nancy Lieberman is one of the most celebrated WNBA basketball players in the group who supports the agenda of the AASEG.
Lieberman embodies the meaning of what the AASEG is pressing for, said the Post. She has a legacy of being an advocate for social and racial equality throughout her career. She also is a big supporter of the minority community, to whom she gives credit for supporting her and inspiring her through the years.
Lieberman gave Vice Mayor Kaplan praise for what she calls “a full court press–style” for the way she supports the AASEG — which in turn caters to women sports, housing and jobs for the homeless and formally incarcerated populations.
Lieberman’s business partner, Gary Reeves, is advocating for a home ownership pathway to make it easier for those who want to pursue their dreams of home ownership. Lieberman and Reeves’ group provided over $1 million dollars in free PPE that serviced under privileged communities.
Oakland natives Shonda Scott and Samantha Wise are accomplished businesswomen who are also members of the AASEG. Alicia Garza, co-founder of the International Black Lives Matter Movement, and Gina Johnson Lillard, Reginal Director for the Western Region of Mothers of Professional Basketball and the mother of basketball super star Damian Lillard, are supporters of the venture as well, said the article.
Gladys Green, 97, is an East Oakland spiritual leader with a huge presence. She is part of the pack leading the charge and fought for decades for equal rights for African Americans. Also in the group is AASEG leader Ray Bobbitt, one of the few males in the group.
The AASEG sent a powerful message to the council expressing the importance of women in leadership positions and the ownership of a WNBA franchise in the Bay Area.
Little girls and women who love basketball may be inspired to know that someone who supports the rights of women’s and girls’ sports is on board with the possibility of the WNBA coming to Oakland.