The WNBA All-Star Game is this weekend at the Wintrust Arena.  Here's everything you need to know about the festivities.

Chicago will host the WNBA All-Star Game for the first time this weekend at Wintrust Arena, home of the defending champion Sky. There will be various festivities to watch and participate in and around the 10,387-seat venue, so here’s a breakdown of what to know, what to see, where to go and how to get there.

The All-Star Game will be played Sunday at noon at Wintrust Arena and will air on ABC-7. Other big events this weekend include the 3-point contest and skills challenge, which will air on ESPN at 2 pm Saturday.

The WNBA switched to a team captain format in 2018, and this year’s teams are led by A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm. Aces coach Becky Hammon will coach Team Wilson, while Sky’s James Wade will coach Team Stewart.

The star in the sky Candace Parker was selected with selection No. 1 in the All-Star selection draft.

team wilson

kelsey plum

Guard, Aces, First All-Star Selection

Plum was named the 2021 Sixth Player of the Year and won a gold medal in 3×3 at the 2021 Olympics.

sabrina ionscu

Guard, New York Liberty, first All-Star selection

After a decorated college career at Oregon, Ionescu was the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft.

Candace Parker

Forward, Sky, seventh All-Star selection

The Naperville Central alumna is a two-time WNBA champion and two-time WNBA MVP.

A’ja Wilson (captain)

Forward, aces, fourth All-Star selection

Wilson was rookie of the year in 2018 and WNBA MVP in 2020.

Silvia Fowles

Center, Minnesota Lynx, eighth All-Star selection

Fowles, who began his WNBA career with Sky in 2008, announced that 2022 will be his final season. She is a former WNBA MVP, a two-time Finals MVP, and a two-time league champion.

Bookings: Ariel Atkins (G, Washington Mystics), Rhyne Howard (G, Atlanta Dream), Courtney Vandersloot (G, Sky), Dearica Hamby (F, Aces), Natasha Howard (F, Liberty) and Brionna Jones (F, Sun).

team steward

your bird

Guard, Storm, 13th All-Star selection

Bird, a four-time WNBA champion, announced that this season would she be latest.

jackie young

Guard, Aces, First All-Star Selection

Drafted in 2019, Young is the second Notre Dame player to be selected No. 1 overall.

Breanna Stewart (captain)

Forward, Storm, fourth All-Star selection

Stewart is a former WNBA MVP, a two-time Finals MVP and a three-time league champion.

Nneka Ogwumike

Forward, Los Angeles Sparks, 7th All-Star selection

Oguwimike, the first pick in the 2012 draft, was the 2016 WNBA MVP.

jonquel jones

Forward, Connecticut Sun, fourth All-Star selection

One of the best rebounders in the WNBA, Jones is the reigning MVP.

Bookings: Kahleah Copper (G, Sky), Skylar Diggins-Smith (G, Phoenix Mercury), Jewell Loyd (G, Storm), Arike Ogunbowale (G, Dallas Wings), Emma Meesseman (F, Sky), and Alyssa Thomas (F, Sun ).

Brittney Griner (honorary)

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert named Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February 17, a honorary holder for this year’s event.

Kahleah Copper

Drafted seventh overall in 2016 by the Mystics, the 6-1 guard was traded to Sky in 2017 in the deal that sent Elena Delle Donne to the Mystics. The 2021 WNBA Finals MVP also won the 2022 EuroLeague Regular Season MVP. This is the Philadelphia native’s second straight All-Star appearance.

emma meessemann

The 6-4 power forward was selected by the Mystics in the second round of the 2013 draft. In 2019, the Belgium native became the first reserve player in WNBA history to win Finals MVP. . This is her second appearance in the All-Star Game.

Azura Stevens

Selected sixth in the 2018 draft, Stevens joined the Sky ahead of the 2020 season. He started all 10 playoff games last season and recorded a double-double in Game 3 of the semifinals. The 6-6 forward will participate in the skills challenge.

Courtney Vandersloot

Selected third overall by Sky in the 2011 draft, Vandersloot will make her fourth All-Star appearance. In 2021, the 5-8 point guard recorded the most assists in a single postseason in WNBA history.

james wade

Known as “Coco”, Wade is the head coach and general manager of Sky. He was named coach of the year for 2019. In 2021 he led the team to its first league championship. In this year’s All-Star Game, Wade will coach Team Stewart.

Wintrust Arena is located at 200 E. Cermak Road, near McCormick Place.

There are three parking lots on McCormick Place, the closest to the arena located at 2301 S. Prairie Ave. Street parking is possible, but not recommended; be aware of signage that requires permits or other restrictions.

Public transportation may be your best option. Wintrust Arena is served by CTA buses #. 3 King Drive, 21 Cermak Road and 4 Cottage Grove.

You can take the CTA Green Line to the Cermak-McCormick Place stop, about three blocks from the stadium, or the Red Line to the Cermak-Chinatown stop, about four blocks away.

Two Metra stops, 18th Street and McCormick Place, are within walking distance of lines serving the South Side.

Friday

  • Orange Carpet, night: The WNBA’s social media accounts will cover the players, and their sense of style, as they walk the orange carpet.

Saturday

New this year is WNBA Live, a series of events taking place from 10 am to 4 pm at the corner of East Cermak Road and South Indiana Avenue. The showcase is free but registration required. Here are the events:

  • Welcome, 11 a.m.: Sky players kick off WNBA Live with an official welcome.
  • Title IX discussion, noon: Moderated by two-time WNBA champion Taj McWilliams-Franklin, the panel discussion features Liberty’s Betnijah Laney and Lynx’s Napheesa Collier and will focus on gender equality and the future of women’s sports.
  • Viewing Party, 2 p.m.: Join a garden party to watch the 3-point contest and skills competition.
  • Meet and greet on Sky, 3pm: Sky players Kahleah Copper and Azura Stevens are scheduled to meet with fans.
  • Basketball clinic, 3 p.m.: This free clinic focuses on teaching the fundamentals to young basketball players.

Sunday

All events take place from 10 am to 5 pm on WNBA Live.

  • All-Star Game Viewing Party, Noon: Fans not inside the Wintrust Arena can attend a watch party hosted by DJ Megan Taylor.
  • Celebrations, post-match: All-Star festivities conclude with a party and music by Chicago artist Senite.

Yes! The Sky guard and former DePaul student will seek his fourth title in the contest, despite his promise that last year’s win would be his last appearance. Quigley also won in 2017 and 2018.

“Everyone was talking to me nonstop about it,” Quigley said Wednesday. “I didn’t want to let the city down or my family and friends. It will be fun and it’s nice that it’s at home. It will be a good experience.”

The other contestants are Ariel Atkins (Mystics), Rhyne Howard (Dream), Jewell Loyd (Storm), Arike Ogunbowale (Wings), and Kelsey Plum (Aces).

Player activism: WNBA stars are among the most vocal athletes, in many cases more so than their male counterparts. Players this weekend will no doubt talk about Griner’s arrest in Russia and the response of the United States government.

Players have also been outspoken about reversing Roe v. Wade for the Supreme Court, LGBTQ rights and other issues.

Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles relationship: Parker and Fowles have a long history together. They were college opponents at Tennessee and LSU, fellow Olympians on Team USA in 2008 and 2012, and were inducted into the SEC Hall of Fame at the same time. In the 2016 WNBA Finals, Parker and the Sparks defeated Fowles and the Lynx.

In Fowles’ final All-Star appearance, she and Parker face off once again as competitors.

Friday, July 8

  • Pop-up Beach Society, 3-5 pm: The clothing brand will be giving away giveaways and more at 16th Street Bar & Lounge, 75 E. 16th St.

Saturday, July 9

  • It’s your shot, 10 am: The basketball clinic and exhibit will be held at Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood St. registration required.

Wintrust Arena’s bag policy is stricter than most other Chicago sports venues. Purses, backpacks, fanny packs and fanny packs are forbidden.

Clear tote bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches are fine, as are gallon-size plastic storage bags. One small carry-on bag no larger than 4½ inches by 6½ inches is accepted.

Freelance reporter James Kay contributed.

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