Up just one day, the billboard is still creating a buzz.
Sunday’s season opener didn’t go the way the Lynx wanted. In a one-point loss to Los Angeles the Lynx committed 24 turnovers, allowing the Sparks 17 more shots.
To be sure, much of Tuesday’s intense practice dealt with what happened, why the players — specifically the starters — seemed to be reading from different pages.
And yet much of the post-practice talk centered on the enormous poster of Moore that graced downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, put up by Nike’s Jordan Brand, that mimicked Michael Jordan’s famous “Wings’’ poster from 1989.
There was Moore, arms outstretched, palming a ball with her right hand.
It is the latest step taken by the Jordan Brand, which signed Moore when she entered the WNBA in 2011.
“It’s history, I think, just for our game,’’ Moore said. “Such an iconic image to be a part of that. Just seeing the tweets and the pictures of the little girls doing the wings pose has been really inspiring.’’
And if the 77-76 loss to the Sparks was a difficult ending, the billboard, in its short run (only approved for a one-day hit by the city of Minneapolis), could have a lasting impression.
“I thought it was awesome,’’ Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Where did it go? But yeah, it was amazing. It was the talk. That and the commercials. So the Jordan brand is really stepping up and promoting their top female athlete. It was really cool to see.’’
A TV commercial featuring Moore based on the same “Wings’’ motif also debuted Sunday. To Reeve, always talking about growing the women’s game, it is another step.
No bird soars too high,— Jordan (@Jumpman23) May 20, 2018
If she soars with her own wings. pic.twitter.com/OVLkKlkoVi
“I thought it was perfect,’’ Reeve said. “It was fitting, what Maya Moore is to the women’s game. And so, that’s why Jordan Brand signed Maya.’’
Moore was born the same year, 1989, that the Jordan poster came out. But she remembers it. She said she had one on her bedroom wall as a young girl.
“I still have it,’’ she said. “So it’s pretty cool.’’
And now other young girls will have their own sports idol to remember in the pose. A number of people took their picture with Moore’s billboard in the background.
“Ever since my rookie year the partnership between the Jordan Brand and I has been historic,’’ Moore said. “The goal of the partnership is always to move the game forward. … They have a great opportunity to continue to do big things in the basketball space and the women’s space and that’s the goal. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see some great things in our partnership moving forward.’’
Everything is a step. Tuesday ESPN announced that 297,000 people watched ESPN2’s coverage of the Sparks-Lynx game, up 38 percent from the 2017 TV opener.
“It’s about exposure, getting the eyes on the game, getting those opportunities,’’ Reeve said.
“Those young girls who take the picture, it will be with them for a long, long time. When they get to be our age, they’re going to talk about the photo they had in their bedroom when they were growing up. Maybe they want to play, be like Maya. Maybe they end up being just as good as Maya. Cool stories come from that.’’