Bill Laimbeer, Las Vegas Aces, Bill Laimbeer Las Vegas

Go Aces! Coach Bill Laimbeer of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces Joins Us to Discuss His Team on the Eve of their First Game in the Women’s National Basketball Association Finals Tonight, More

Today, the Las Vegas Aces will play game one of the WNBA finals against the Seattle Storm. The game will take place in Bradenton, Florida at the IMG Academy. It is the third season for the Aces basketball team here, in the Entertainment Capital of the World.

In 2018, before the Aces took to the court for the first time, we attended one of their practices. We CYInterviewed A’ja Wilson [see here] and saw Bill Laimbeer coaching his team. You could tell that this was the beginning of a powerful new chapter for the Las Vegas sports scene.

Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer is known for his playing days with the Detroit Pistons, where he won two NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. Then as a coach, he led the Detroit Shock to three WNBA championships in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Since 2002, he has been a coach for every season of the WNBA. Now he coaches our Las Vegas team. The Aces are three wins away from bringing the Entertainment Capital of the World its first professional sports championship.

Coach Laimbeer believed it would take three seasons for the Aces, led by this year’s WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson, to get to this moment. Speaking of his team, a day before the Women’s National Basketball Association Finals first game tonight, he said this:

“I think it’s a newness for a lot of our players except Angel McCoughtry whose been here three times and lost them all. I think they’re just excited. They realize what they’ve accomplished so far, but they haven’t accomplished anything. So, there’s still more work to be done. They’re a very resilient bunch. They play for each other. And A’ja has become a machine. She just says, ‘Alright, hop on my back, you know what I’m gonna do every night? I’m gonna get you 20 plus and 10 plus rebounds.’ And yeah, it keeps us in every game. Now, the other players understand their roles, as long as they fulfill their roles, we can win any game we play. And that’s what’s been happening and I think the confidence factor plus up 10 or down 10 for this team is they just keep on playing. They just keep grinding it out and we’re able to win.”

Coach Laimbeer and his Las Vegas Aces players have been in the WNBA bubble, due to the coronavirus pandemic, since July. He shared with us what that has been like:

“Interesting. Different. Weird. Pick any adjective you want to. It just, it wears you down. You don’t have your family or friends. The only routine is you go eat and you go back to your room. You go to practice and you go back to your room. And you eat and you go back to your room. It’s really trying as far as nothing to do. And so, you can only do so much Internet, you can only do so many books or magazines or newspapers. So, it is a grind. And, but now, it’s weird also, now as most of them are gone. There’s only two teams left standing with the support staff, and the referees and league personnel. So, it was a very crowded situation, crowded. Now, there’s nobody here. It’s even weirder.”

Additionally, the Las Vegas Aces coach expressed to us his philosophy for getting through these tough times:

“You know, stay the course. You know, don’t give in. You know, this, it’s not gonna go away. And there’s not gonna be no magic bullet or magic cure to solve this problem. It’s gonna be here for an extended period of time if it never [ever] goes away. So, you have to deal with it, change the way the world is no question about it, but you can’t give in.”

Featured columnist Jay Bildstein joins us for this CYInterview, to speak with Coach Bill Laimbeer about his coaching approach among other topics.

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