The Las Vegas Aces kicked off their season opener with more than just a win. They celebrated their back-to-back championships with a banner reveal, received their championship rings and got a motivational pep talk from none other than seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Ahead of their home opener against the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday, Brady, a minority owner of the Aces, shared an inspiring message in the locker room that resonated deeply with Finals MVP A’ja Wilson.

“He was saying, ‘The banners are always going to be there, so you don't have to try to defend that. Just go do what you've been doing,'” Wilson said, per Michael Voepel of ESPN. “That message made the night for me. Because I feel like we get so caught up in, ‘Oh, my God, we've got to three-peat.' But that banner is going to be there forever. My ring is going to be in the trophy case forever. Let me focus on getting better, and then that's when everything else flows.”

Brady’s advice seemed to resonate with the team as they went on to defeat the Mercury 89-80. Wilson led the charge with 30 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, showcasing the very determination and focus Brady highlighted.

Aces coach Becky Hammon revealed that she kept Brady's visit a secret from the players to surprise them.

“I thought it would be cool to bring a sports figure in who's not only invested in our team but also knows a few things about winning,” Hammon said. “Just let him have the floor. He's somebody who has sat where they've sat — chasing history and trying to be the greatest.”

Hammon's decision paid off as the players received an unexpected boost from Brady’s words.

“Those things don't just happen. You really have to be intentional about your work, your approach … And about winning the moments. We're certainly happy that he came and shared some of his knowledge and passion and really love for women's sports,” Hammon added.

Last team to win three consecutive titles was Houston Comets

Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson (22) celebrates after winning thhe 2023 WNBA Finals.
© Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Aces' owner, Mark Davis, who was present alongside Brady and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, echoed the team’s ambitious mindset during the pre-game ceremony, where the Aces also debuted their new silver and black uniforms, mirroring those of Davis' other Las Vegas team, the Raiders.

“Not only are we back, we're back-to-back world champions. All I can say is let's three-peat,” Davis told the sellout crowd at Michelob Ultra Arena.

Engelbert, choosing to attend the Aces’ opener over Caitlin Clark's debut with the Indiana Fever, highlighted the significance of celebrating champions.

“The favorite part of my job is handing out the trophy and then the following year helping hand out the rings,” Engelbert said. “So, this is important – back-to-back champions.”

The Aces are aiming to become the first WNBA team since the House Comets (1997-2000) to win three consecutive titles.

“It's going to be a lot of grinding out games,” Wison said. “We do have something that people want. We have to try to continue to get better and better.”

Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum contribute to Aces’ win

Las Vegas guards Kelsey Plum (10), Sydney Colson (51) and Chelsea Gray (12) pose for a photo op during the Las Vegas Aces championship parade.
© Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to Wilson’s 30 points, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum contributed 23 and 19, respectively, helping to secure the victory for Las Vegas.

Despite a strong start where the Aces went on a 21-3 run to take an early lead, the Mercury fought back, closing the gap to 42-41 by halftime. Diana Taurasi led Phoenix with 23 points, per the Associated Press. The game remained tight until the fourth quarter when the Aces managed to pull away slightly. However, the Mercury staged a late rally, reducing the deficit to three points with just over a minute remaining.

In the final moments, Kiah Stokes and Young secured the win for the Aces by making crucial free throws. Both teams faced challenges, with the Aces missing point guard Chelsea Gray due to injury and the Mercury without Brittney Griner, sidelined with a broken toe.

The largest-ever crowd at Michelob Ultra Arena, 10,419 strong, witnessed the win and celebrated the team’s recent title with a sing-along to “We are the Champions” during the first timeout.

In addition to Brady and Engelbert, Las Vegas Raider Antonio Pierce was among the notable attendees at the game.