Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Sydney Colson doesn’t like being in the limelight. The Las Vegas Aces guard doesn’t even like celebrating her birthday. She’d rather put the spotlight on her teammates.
Having your own TV show doesn’t make it any easier to remain low key.
The pilot episode for “The Syd and TP Show,” a comedy series featuring Colson and former Aces teammate Theresa Plaisance on the Maximum Effort Channel, aired Monday night.
More than half of Colson’s teammates, coach Becky Hammon and other team staff gathered in a media room to surprise Colson — a plan concocted by her girlfriend Amadi Brooks — to watch the first episode. “I thought, maybe, a couple of people,” Colson said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that.”
“I don’t do a lot (of celebrating). But my girlfriend does, and I’m glad she did something on that day because it was a big deal. Once I was in it and I realized it, it was super special. I’m really appreciative for it,” Colson said.
The Aces are in the middle of a playoff run, trying to win their second consecutive WNBA championship. They play the Dallas Wings in the best-of-five semifinal series, with Game 1 set for Sunday at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas (2 p.m., ESPN2).
The Aces are going a week between games. It’s plenty of time to rest and recover, physically and mentally, before tipoff.
It’s also a time for the players to acknowledge one another and enjoy the friendships on the team.
This week had plenty of those moments. Aces forward Alysha Clark was named the WNBA’s Sixth Woman of the Year on Monday. On top of that, reigning MVP A’ja Wilson announced that her new book, “Dear Black Girls: How to Be True to You,” will go on sale Feb. 6.
Wilson said she’s glad these moments are being shared publicly to show how close this group is.
“I think that’s just who we are. It’s just how we move. We move as a sisterhood here,” Wilson said. “We love each other. We support each other, no matter if it’s a book, no matter if it’s a TV show, winning a game.”
Wilson said the process of writing her book started over a year and a half ago. Writing and journaling has been a therapeutic process throughout her life, she said. As Wilson has gotten older and become one of the more recognizable figures in basketball, she wanted a way to connect more with Black girls and women outside of her home state of South Carolina and Las Vegas, she said.
Wilson said she underestimated the intricacies of putting a book together — finding the right publishers, framing her voice the correct way — but it was something she always wanted to do.
“Just getting the wheels turning, finding great publishers and people that can tell my story the way I want to,” Wilson said. “It’s a lot that goes into (writing a book that) I never imagined, but it was tons of fun.”
The Aces pride themselves as much on a quality locker room as they do on the on-court product. General manager Natalie Williams and team president Nikki Fargas ask Wilson for her input on players. It’s something Wilson is most proud of as the Aces’ leader.
The team’s camaraderie on the court translates to off the court.
“We’re going to try and be there for one another,” Wilson said. “Life is bigger than basketball. It’s a hobby. It’s something we’re good at. But it’s that next step; making sure you’re good as a woman. And I love that.”
It didn’t take long for Clark to fit in with the Aces. She signed a two-year deal in the offseason and was asked to come off the bench extensively for the first time in her 11-year career.
Hammon echoed Wilson’s sentiments about having a high-character locker room, with Clark easily checking off the necessary boxes. Her accepting the bench role was a key example of that.
Though she’s the team’s newest member, the Aces have been a seamless fit for Clark.
“To be able to celebrate the accomplishments that everyone has with one another, it’s what makes this team special,” Clark said. “Just the support we have for one another, showing up, and being present for everybody in things they’re doing, there’s such an appreciation for each and every player on this team as a whole human and not just a basketball player.”
The Aces understand the task in front of them. They’re trying to be the first team since the Los Angeles Sparks from 2001-02 to win back-to-back titles.
But the sisterhood they’ve developed off the court might be more important.
“It’s the same when someone goes out there and gives a good screen to get somebody open to score, or somebody hits a big shot, or gets a big stop on defense,” Colson said. “It’s the same energy that we feel for one another on and off the court. Everything that we do to support one another, it’s what makes this group and this whole organization special.”