Aces forward and South Carolina legend A'ja Wilson was honored with a statue outside of Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C. on Monday.
Wilson's statue was unveiled on January 14, just under four years after she led South Carolina to the 2017 national championship.
"A'ja Wilson's accomplishments, on and off the basketball court, make this statue so deserving," South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. "She is an outstanding representative of Gamecock Athletics and our University. I am delighted that we can celebrate her in this manner. Thank you to everyone who helped get this done, including our great donors."
Wilson is one of the most decorated college basketball players of the 2010s. She tallied three SEC regular-season titles in four years with the Gamecocks, reaching the Final Four twice. Wilson was also a three-time All-American at South Carolina as well as the consensus National Player of the Year in 2018. But it's not just Wilson's on-court achievements that led to the statue's creation.
The Hopkins, S.C. native has emerged as one of the WNBA's leading voices in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality over the last year. Wilson is a founding member of the league's social justice council, which serves to "address this country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted Black and brown communities."
Wilson addressed the media today after the statue ceremony, noting the honor of holding the event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight,” Wilson said, “But you want to be a part of something that plants seeds so later on down the road little Black girls can come back here and look at that statue and say, ‘wow, she was here. But at the same time she was in her community as well.' And I think that’s the beauty of it all and I’m taking it all with grace hopefully."
"It’s just truly a blessing, and for it to fall on MLK Day is just something that’s truly special to me.”
Wilson has carried her excellence on the hardwood from South Carolina to the WNBA. She is a two-time All-Star in three seasons, earning MVP honors in 2020 as she averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.