Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand’s partnership with 11 emerging WNBA players has made history as the largest group of women Jumpman endorsees in basketball. The major announcement was accompanied by a photoshoot conducted by beloved image maker Ming Smith.
Smith was the first Black woman in photography to have her work acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The endorsement group was announced in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the WNBA’s inaugural game. “These amazing athletes are defining a lot of things about Jordan Brand and leading a true conversation that’s impacting culture and our communities across the globe,” Jordan’s press release statement read.
Featured endorsees include: Arella Karin Guirantes, Maya Moore, Kia Nurse, Te’a Cooper, Satou Sabally, Chelsea Dungee, Aerial Powers, Asia Durr, Crystal Dangerfield, Jordin Canada and Dearica Hamby.
“The Jordan Brand is bigger than one person,” Michael Jordan said in a press release. “It’s a family that has transcended basketball and influenced other sports, entertainment, art and more. And we are continuing to expand our Brand family even more today with the addition of these WNBA athletes, who all play an extremely important part in who we are and what we represent as Jordan Brand.”
“Their visibility will be mass, all over the word,” Smith said to Essence. “I think this will be a game changer…I love these girls…I felt their strengths. They were warriors, they were down to earth. Michael Jordan—he’s doing something new.”
As noted in the official statement from Jordan, including WNBA players on the list of endorsees is an effort to honor to the brand’s commitment to celebrating Black community initiatives. The brand “acknowledges that their newest additions embody that ideal and applaud the players’ use of their platforms to enact change.”
“The world needs female voices, and we can’t ignore that or else we’re not growing,” the WNBA said. “The Jordan Brand is committed to giving women a platform to amplify their voices, which influence, inspire and push culture forward.”
Watch Girls United’s ESSENCE After Dark performances here.