Friday night, the New York Liberty were down. They had lost their sixth straight game to the defending WNBA champs, the Storm, in Seattle. As they had in a number of losses, New York played hard, but couldn’t quite make it.
Worse, they had fallen out of the WNBA playoff race, a half game behind the eighth and final seed. Moreover, because of a quirk in the WNBA schedule, they had eight days before their next game in Dallas vs. the Wings who’s also fighting for a playoff slot. Most of the time, that would mean trekking back to the East Coast, practice, then fly on to Dallas.
Not this time. Clara and Joe Tsai, the Liberty’s co-governors, decided to fly the team to a toney resort in Northern California’s Napa Valley for some much needed R&R on Labor Day Weekend.
Wu Tsai and Nets/Liberty alternate governor Oliver Weisberg went even further, joining dancing Liberty players behind a lip-synching Sabrina Ionescu on a Tik Tok video. That’s Wu Tsai second from left, Weisberg second from right.
As Ionescu noted, “Can your owners do that????” Rookie Didi Richards joined in...
@Sabrina Ionescu almost killed me while making this TikTok♬ He Could Be The One - Tristen
It would appear a good time was had by all from co-owner down to rookie. More than 15,000 TikTok viewers have now shared the videos.
Jazmine Jones, who’s been fighting off injuries, noted how much the team needed the trip. She also made a point that no doubt will resonate with other WNBA players.
“Our ownership is freaking amazing. They treat us just like they treat the NBA team,’ she told the media Tuesday. “It was a great experience and I’m super grateful and thankful for them.”
Betnijah Laney seconded that emotion.
“We’re just really thankful just to be backed by these people. Despite anything we’re going through, they stand behind us and provide us with everything we need. It’s good for us in the long run. We needed that.”
The Liberty was back in New York by early in the week and Ionescu was seen Wednesday at the U.S. Open with another Tsai employee.
Of course, all that will matter is whether the Libs make the post-season. They have three games left vs. the Wings and Connecticut Sun on the road, then the Washington Mystics, their main playoff contender, on the 17th. While on break, New York moved back into eighth place by mere percentage points. So there are “glimpses of positivity” as Laney said … starting with the Tsais’ gesture.
“We’re praying for the best, continuing to work, despite the obstacles,” said Laney. “To have the glimpses of positivity, it’s really good for us, for our morale, going into the next games.”