Speaking at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on December 11, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she wasn’t surprised this day had come. The city’s new WNBA team, formerly the San Antonio Stars, had already announced its move to Las Vegas to play at the Mandalay Bay Events Center beginning in 2018. On Monday, the team rolled out its new name, the Las Vegas Aces, and a sharp logo, created in colors paralleling those of the UNLV Rebels and the Vegas Golden Knights.
Since she’s passionate about basketball and has been instrumental—along with her husband, former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman—in bringing professional sports to the city, Carolyn Goodman said she recognized Las Vegas’ love of the sport and knew a team would eventually arrive. But in that environment, surrounded by dignitaries, WNBA and MGM Resorts International officials, it was hard not to feel mild shock about the sports city Las Vegas has suddenly become.
After additional comments from Mandalay Bay president Chuck Bowling, WNBA president Lisa Borders, Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak, MGM Resorts president Bill Hornbuckle and the team’s GM and head coach—Detroit Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer—a flashy video starring Cirque du Soleil performers played, the Aces’ name and logo arrived and the House of Blues was showered in confetti.
In explaining why he took the job, Laimbeer—who has coached the New York Liberty the past five seasons and previously won three WNBA titles leading the Detroit Shock—said he was ready for a new challenge, and that, “it was time to do something special.” What could be more special than helping Las Vegas take its next sporting step?