The road to success can be a daunting one. You have setbacks, you take tough losses, and sometimes you wonder if everything is worth it. However, the road can also teach you a lot at the same time. It can teach you perseverance, grit, and remind you that you deserve to be here. And soon enough, that perseverance pays off.
The first couple of seasons of Sabrina Ionescu’s WNBA career have been a whirlwind. An ankle injury limited her to only three games in the 2020 “wubble.” She dealt with the ramifications of the ankle injury throughout 2021 and the early portion of 2022. However, in ‘22, she overcame the injuries and put together one of the best seasons in franchise history. She was an All Star, finished eighth in the MVP vote, was named to the All WNBA second team, and set various records along the way. Ionescu has been through a lot in her young career, and things are looking up for the budding star.
At Media Day, I asked her about coming into this season completely healthy and being able to hoop without anything in her way, and she said:
“It’s been a blessing. You know, I think as athletes a lot of the times, especially if you haven’t dealt with an injury, you can sometimes take the days for granted and take the practices and all the small things [for granted], and I think it’s definitely put it into perspective. For me, being able to have my first healthy offseason of being able to train from the day the season ended last year to this point now, and I’m very excited. It’s been rewarding already, just being able to be in training camp from day one to now and continue to work on my game and be my best best self for this team and not having to deal with that obstacle. And so for me, it’s a blessing. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to be here and give it my all and I’m I’m very excited for the season because I’ve worked really, really hard to work on my game and finally have the opportunity to work on my game this offseason. And so I know I will be a lot better.”
That faith has paid off in a major way. On Monday afternoon, Richard Cohen of the fantastic Her Hoop Stats broke some big news:
Per source, Sabrina Ionescu has signed a contract extension with the New York Liberty.— Richard Cohen (@RichardCohen1) May 15, 2023
Deal is for $202,000/$208,060, unprotected (couldn't be protected as NY already at 6-player limit). That's below the regular max numbers, never mind the supermax she was eligible for. #WNBA
A little while later, the team made it official
General Manager, Jonathan Kolb, said in a statement:
“Her career is already off to a historic start and her will to win is truly unparalleled. Sab has quickly become synonymous with the Liberty franchise, and we look forward to her continued success in New York for many years to come.”
“I’m thankful and honored to be able to represent the New York Liberty for the next couple years. Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, Jonathan Kolb, and the entire Liberty organization has been nothing short of amazing over my time here, and I’m thrilled to work towards bringing a championship back to New York City.”
The legend of Sabrina Ionescu continues to grow. She’s one of the faces of the Liberty and made history by becoming the eighth woman to have her own signature line with Nike, which will be debuting this summer. She and the team are doing big things and this pact ensures that she gets the money she deserves while also leaving the team some financial flexibility for the rest of the roster down the line. With the Liberty completing an offseason for the ages, all eyes will be on them. With Ionescu getting better by the day, the Liberty promise to be one of the best and most exciting teams in sports this summer.
As Richard Cohen noted on Twitter, this deal ends right before the collective bargaining agreement ends in 2025, a likely opt-out from the CBA in ‘25, and an expected influx of money from a new television agreement. More money, more roster spots, and more support for the players is the goal, and here’s hoping they all get what they’re asking for.
Don’t touch that dial!
With the season tipping off this Friday night in Washington DC, the YES Network will be cataloguing the journey of the Liberty from beginning to end. The broadcast home of the Liberty, Brooklyn Nets, and New York Yankees announced their broadcast schedule early Monday morning:
Liberty CEO, Keia Clarke, said in a statement:
“Accessibility to our games has never been more important ahead of this extremely exciting time in New York Liberty history. Whether you watch Liberty games on linear or stream digitally, our comprehensive broadcast schedule is designed to meet our dedicated fanbase, both in and out-of-market, wherever they are.”
Chris Shearn and Zora Stephenson will be handling play-by-play duties with Julianne Viani-Braen handling color commentary. A familiar face from Nets games will be joining us as Meghan Triplett will be the sideline reporter for Liberty home games. Local access to games is critically important and Liberty fans will get the chance to witness this historic season from all angles.
The W recently inked a deal with ION TV to broadcast games on Friday night. The Liberty will be on ION eight times this season and have the most national TV games overall in 2023. As the WNBA continues to grow, the game needs to become even more accessible for fans at home and across the world. This is a great start with room to get even bigger and better from here.
- Liberty sign Sabrina Ionescu to extension through 2025 - Alexa Philippou - ESPN
- Liberty, guard Sabrina Ionescu agree to extension through 2025 season: Why now? - Sabreena Merchant - The Athletic
- Sabrina Ionescu Inks Multi-Year Extension With Liberty Following Breakout Season - Jelani Scott - Sports Illustrated
- Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty agree to contract extension through 2025 season, reportedly worth $410K - Callie Lawson-Freeman - Yahoo! Sports
- Sabrina Ionescu signs multi-year contract extension with the Liberty - Mike Rose - Newsday
- Sabrina Ionescu Signs Multi-Year Extension With New York Liberty - New York Liberty