On July 14, 1999, the inaugural WNBA all-star game took place at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The game was aired on ESPN, and in attendance was a sell-out crowd. I am so excited about writing an article about the first-ever WNBA all-star game in 1999!

The Beginning of the WNBA in the ’90s

The WNBA in the ’90s was fantastic to watch! In the month of April in 1996, the WNBA was founded with the, “We Got Next”, campaign.  First-ever WNBA president Val Ackerman and NBA Commissioner David Stern were apart of the history. Stars like Tina Thompson, Rebecca Lobo, Lisa Leslie, and many more made historic memories in that decade! As a seventeen-year-old who has been into the WNBA for four years, I have fascinating feelings while looking back at the WNBA’s history! 

The Recap of the 1999 WNBA Season

In the 1999 season, there were 12 teams in the league with the Minnesota Lynx and the Orlando Miracle (now the Connecticut Sun) joining as expansion teams. Chamisque Holdsclaw got selected first overall by the Washington Mystics in the 1999 WNBA draft and won the rookie of the year award.

The season concluded with the Houston Comets, who had the league-best record at 26-6, winning the third-straight championship over New York, 2-1 in the finals. The comets dedicated the championship to Guard Kim Perrot, who died of cancer on August 19, 1999, after a seven-month-long battle. In my opinion, hearing about the Comets praising the legacy of Kim Perrot is really heartwarming.

First-Ever WNBA All-Star Game

The players that took part in the 1999 WNBA all-star game. From L to R, Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, and Rebecca Lobo (Did not play due to injury).
The first three players of the WNBA: Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets), Lisa Leslie (LA Sparks), and Rebecca Lobo (NY Liberty).

The format for the the 1999 WNBA all-star game was the Eastern Conference vs. the Western Conference. The Western Conference took home the first ever win over the Eastern Conference in the WNBA all-star game with a score of 79-61.

The full WNBA All-star game is here if you want to watch.

The Introduction to the WNBA All-star Game

Whitney Houston sang the national anthem in the 1999 WNBA all-star game.

The most awarded female artist of all time, Whitney Houston, sang the national anthem. Having this level of star power to open the first WNBA all-star game added to the excitement of the day.

1999 WNBA all-star game.

The uniforms that were worn had a signature color blocking that the 1990s is known for. The western conference wore their uniforms in dark colors. The eastern conference wore their uniforms in light colors. In her article about the WNBA in the ’90s, Aislyn Jowers mentioned the hairstyles that the WNBA players wore in the ’90s. I had an intriguing feeling about that too.

My favorite hairstyle from the ’90s that is worn by a WNBA player is Sheryl Swoopes.

4x WNBA champion Sheryl Swoopes participated in the 1999 WNBA all-star game.
30 Sep 2000: Sheryl Swoopes of the USA celebrates during the Womens Basketball Gold Medal match at the Sydney SuperDome on day 15 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport

The WNBA All-Star Game

In the first half of the game, the Western Conference got off to a 10-0 lead before Chamisque Holdsclaw’s basket put the eastern conference on the scoreboard. The Houston Comets’ ‘Big 3′ along with LA Sparks’ Lisa Leslie has dominated with both defense and offense.

Over halfway through the first half, the eastern conference went on a 12-2 run to cut the western conference lead to 6. Both teams had battled really hard as the West lead by a score of 31-29. Then Yolanda Griffith scored back-to-back buckets which lead to a 12-0 run by the Western Conference to conclude the first half. In the second half of the game, the Western Conference never looked back as they won the game in a dominating style.

The Players That Have Interested Me the Most in This Game

One of my favorite players I saw in the first ever WNBA all-star game (besides the Comets’ big three and Leslie) is Ticha Penicheiro, a guard for the Sacramento Monarchs. Penicheiro is known for her no-look passes and her powerful leadership. I also liked Yolanda Griffith of the Sacramento Monarchs. Griffith, a second overall pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft and MVP in her rookie season, is terrific at scoring buckets. She reminds me of both Candace Parker and A’ja Wilson in many ways with her athleticism.

Final Stats in the All-Star Game with Scoring and Rebounding

Lisa Leslie won the MVP award in the 1999 WNBA all-star game.

Lisa Leslie wins the first-ever MVP award in all-star game history as she led the team with 13 points, 5 rebounds, a steal, and a couple of blocks. Natalie Williams of the Utah Starzz scored the most points in this all-star game with 14 for the Western Conference. For the Eastern Conference, Sandy Brondello, Taj McWilliams, and Shannon Johnson scored eight points in a loss.

Overall, watching the first-ever WNBA all-star game from 1999 was fun! I am looking forward to writing about another WNBA classic game next week!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ayaabdeen__ for more content. Follow my Diana Taurasi fan page on Instagram @dtaurasi3_fp. And check out more WNBA articles by the Belly Up Sports team.

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