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Alana Beard to lead ownership group for Oakland WNBA proposal

Professional basketball is a step closer to returning to Oakland, and a hoops legend is spearheading the proposal.

Indiana Fever v Los Angeles Sparks Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors might never return to the other side of the bay, where they played for many decades, but it seems only a matter of time before professional basketball is back in Oakland.

Over the summer, it was reported that the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) was seeking a 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum Complex, which features Oakland Arena (formerly Oracle Arena, where the Warriors played). The group’s proposal relied heavily on the idea of forming an expansion WNBA franchise to bring professional hoops back to the city.

At the time, the AASEG didn’t have an ownership group in place for a WNBA team, but said they were planning a “woman-led ownership group.” Now we have a name to put at the front of that group: WNBA legend Alana Beard.

The AASEG announced on Wednesday that Beard had partnered with the AASEG, and will lead the ownership group as they move forward with their proposal.

Beard brings with her an enormous amount of WNBA experience, having played for the Washington Mystics from 2004 through 2011, and then with the Los Angeles Sparks from 2013 until her retirement after the 2019 season. The guard is a WNBA champion, a four-time All-Star, a nine-time All-Defense selection, and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

We know from NBA experience that great players don’t always make great franchise leaders, but I suspect that won’t be an issue with Beard. Having covered her for two years while working on the Sparks beat, I can say that Beard has not only taught me more about basketball than any player I’ve talked to, but that she’s always shown an interest in the business and decision-making aspect of the sport, becoming close with coaches, general managers, and higher-ups along the way.

She’s also a player who’s always shown the ability to do the little things necessary to win — think prime Andre Iguodala. I suspect she’ll do a great job with this next venture.

It certainly is looking like pro hoops are coming back to Oakland, and that’s a wonderful thing; with the Warriors moving across the Bay, the Raiders moving out of state, and the A’s future in doubt, the city certainly deserves a good team to root for.