Visual arts

Washington Mystics’ Ariel Atkins: 100 influential Black women in sports

Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports—from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more—in the series, Elle Evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.


In the summer of 2020, as news spread of a 29-year-old Black man clinging to life after being shot seven times by a Kenosha, Wis., police officer, the Mystics convened an emergency team meeting inside the league’s COVID-19 bubble in Bradenton, Fla. There was no doubt the women would stage a demonstration. The only question was: How big could it be? “It’s really beautiful to watch when someone says one thing, and you get to see everyone’s different viewpoint,” says Washington guard Ariel Atkins, one of the stronger voices in the meeting. “Everybody may not always agree, but we all understand each other.”

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