As the San Antonio Stars faced the Dallas Wings at the AT&T Center Friday night, something was noticeably different. The teams played on a pink court, the only one of its kind in the WNBA.
It was the Stars’ 14th annual Breast Health Awareness Night. Players wore pink jerseys, and fans received pink shirts to “pink out” the arena.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket packages sold went to local breast cancer charities, and following the game, players auctioned their pink jerseys live on the court to benefit cancer research and treatments.
The event was part of the WNBA’s Breast Health Awareness Week. It’s clear how important being a part of the cause is to the athletes participating in the league’s initiative.
“I’ve been in the WNBA for 11 years, and I’ve met so many fans who are survivors, and so many friends or parents of fans who have been affected,” said Stars forward Monique Currie. “This game is really important to those people, and it’s really important for us.”
The players take pride in bringing awareness to a disease that affects the lives of so many.
“My aunt had breast cancer, and she passed away from it a few years back,” said Stars guard Moriah Jefferson, who led all scorers with 27 points in her team’s 92–84 loss to the Wings. “I think that’s why I really love playing in this game. In some ways I feel like I’m playing for her. I always go out here and give it my all, but tonight is really special.”
With such a big platform, these professional athletes know their voice will be heard if they fight for a cause. The game is more than just a promotion or publicity stunt. It’s the opportunity to spread the word about getting checked and to educate the public about the disease.
“This night is about awareness and appreciation,” said Currie. “It makes you aware how small basketball is in the grand scheme of the world. We get to go out and play for fun, when there are people who are dealing with real issues and real diseases. Us being able to use this game to bring joy to these people and to bring awareness and raise money for the cause is what I look forward to the most.”
Each person in attendance Friday got an “I Pink For” sign that had space for fans to write the names of people close to them who have been affected by breast cancer. During a timeout in the second half, all 7,425 in attendance stood up and shared their signs. It was a powerful moment that showcased what the game was all about.
“It’s about getting people from different cultures and backgrounds together and giving them awareness about one cause,” said Jefferson. “I love how many people come out and support during this time, and I think it’s really important that we do that. I’m glad that the league keeps doing this for so many years, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow.”
Photographs by Chris Covatta/NBAE/Getty Images (2)