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The Las Vegas Aces history as the San Antonio (Silver) Stars

The Spurs Organization turned a struggling inaugural WNBA team into a title contender

San Antonio Stars v Minnesota Lynx - WNBA Western Conference Semifinals Game 1 Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

As we continue our discussion of the Las Vegas Aces signing Becky Hammon as the new head coach and general manager, it makes sense to look back at the history of the team and Hammon’s role prior to last month’s announcement.

The Utah Starzz (a hybrid of the ABA Utah Stars and the NBA Utah Jazz), was one of the eight original WNBA teams in 1997. In 2002, when the NBA divested itself of the WNBA franchises, the Starzz moved to San Antonio as the Silver Stars under the ownership of Peter Holt. They altered their uniforms to the San Antonio Spurs silver and black and became part of the Spurs family.

After four years of losing records, the Silver Stars made a trade for Backy Hammon in 2007. Hammon helped the team to become instant contenders. In 2008, the Silver Stars made it all the way to the Finals before losing to the Detroit Shock.

During Hammon’s seven seasons with Silver Stars, they only missed the postseason one time.

Hammon retired at the end of the 2014 NBA season and immediately joined the Spurs coaching staff. The Silver Stars also rebranded themselves as the San Antonio Stars in the offseason.

The Stars struggled after Hammon’s retirement, unable to make the postseason during their last three seasons in San Antonio.

At the end of the 2017, the team was sold and relocated to Las Vegas as the Aces. Since landing in Sin City, their head coach has been Bill Laimbeer who led the team into the post season in the last three years. In 2020, the Aces won their second conference title and made another title run.

Over the course of the entire franchise history, only one player has had her jersey retired. Becky Hammon’s #25 is the only WNBA jersey to hang in thr rafters of the AT&T Center. It has been there since June 25, 2016.

Hammon’s #25 also hangs in Las Vegas at the Michelob ULTRA Arena. Last September, the Aces honored Hammon as recognition for her achievements with the franchise. The occasion also coincided with festivities acknowledging the 25th anniversary of the WNBA.

As Hammon continues with the Spurs as an assistant coach, she is doubling down as general manager and head coach of the Aces, putting plans together now for the summer season.

As President Nikki Fargas shared:

“I’ve followed Becky’s career and her journey. When Bill and I were discussing who we want to lead the Aces, he, like I mentioned, had his short list, and I jst said ‘Becky Hammon’ and that’s it, that’s all I had to say. That’s it, because Becky checks all the boxes. When you mention community, that resonates with us...The vision we all share is a movement...Becky is the most talented person for the Aces. Period. Hands down.”

Becky’s commitment to the team and her passion for the sport bridging both the NBA and WNBA brings her journey with her team full circle as she will now be expanding her leadership role on multiple levels.


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