The Wizards had some of the best basketball talent in the Capital One Arena Sunday night — up in a suite overlooking the court. Washington Mystics players Elena Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud were all in attendance and were recognized on the national broadcast during the game against the Miami Heat. The Wizards also surprised Delle Donne, the league’s 2019 MVP, with a personalized Wizards City Edition jersey.
Honoring the champs tonight as part of #InternationalWomensDay! 🏆
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 8, 2020
The Mystics were crowned WNBA champions in October, after defeating the Connecticut Sun in five grueling games. The win marked the first championship for the WNBA franchise, and the first title for D.C. basketball since the Wizards (then Bullets) title in 1978. On the way to their first-ever title, the Mystics blew everyone away, setting a franchise-best regular season record of 26-8 and breaking league records for most three-pointers made in a season (316) and most assists per game (21.9).
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) March 8, 2020
Players from each of the two teams, both owned by Ted Leonsis, have formed close connections in recent years. Former Mystics guard Kristi Toliver served as an assistant coach for the Wizards last NBA season, and both John Wall and Bradley Beal have talked at length about her impact and what they’ve learned from her and the other Mystics players. Toliver, who became the first active WNBA player to serve as an NBA assistant coach, plans to stay with the Wizards organization even after her move to the L.A. Sparks this WNBA offseason.
Wizards star duo Wall and Beal have made regular courtside appearances at Mystics games and went wild during the Finals last season. Beal even penned an emotional essay in “The Players Tribune” during their 2019 Finals run, discussing his relationship with his mom and how that translated into an appreciation for the Mystics.
The Mystics’ victory parade for the 2019 Championship will be held on May 12 at 11am, with the route set to begin at the National Museum of Women and end at the Capital One Arena.