Former Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu pushing for WNBA team to Portland

Sabrina Ionescu joins the chorus advocating for a WNBA team in Portland.

Ionescu, whose historic career at the University of Oregon led her to WNBA stardom with the New York Liberty, expressed her support for the expansion of the league to the Rose City.

“I’ve been pushing for a WNBA team here,” Ionescu stated to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “Witnessing the incredible growth of fans in the past few years, I’ve realized that if you produce and believe in the quality of the game, the fans will follow. Building on what we’ve achieved here in Oregon and the success of professional sports in Portland, we’re determined to push for more.”

Fresh off her first appearance in the WNBA Finals, Ionescu visited Portland on Monday for the unveiling of a new basketball court at the Regence Boys & Girls Club. She collaborated with Kobe Bryant’s Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation and sports drink brand Bodyarmor for this event.

Aside from her professional pursuits, Ionescu maintains strong ties with the Bryant family and has started her own foundation, the SI20 Foundation. During the WNBA offseason, Ionescu frequently returns to Oregon, whether it’s for meetings at the Nike campus regarding her signature shoe or for nostalgic visits to Eugene. Recently, she hosted a basketball camp for kids in Eugene, her “home away from home.”

Ionescu’s connection with the state of Oregon runs deep, and the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA tournament for the formidable Oregon team, led by Ionescu as a senior, has left an unresolved feeling.

That’s why Ionescu embraces the idea of returning to Oregon as a professional player, even if it means playing against the home team.

“It wouldn’t feel like an away game for me,” Ionescu expressed. “I consider it a home game. Playing two games in front of my home crowd would bring a sense of closure since I never had a proper goodbye in 2020. My time here was cut short, so being able to come back would be an unimaginable experience. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m truly hopeful it will.”


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