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Ari Chambers x Wilson: The Bonds of Ball

Arielle Chambers is one of the most prominent voices in women’s sports media. Her Wilson basketball collab reflects her passion and journey.

No one has ever told Ari Chambers to shut up — or if they ever have, she’s ignored them.

That’s why if you follow the WNBA, there’s a good chance you know her name.

The Turner Sports and Bleacher Report personality doesn’t try to draw attention to herself. Instead, it’s her mission to use her voice to draw attention to women in sports. She’s much more visible today, both as the creator of highlightHER, B/R’s platform that showcases women athletes from the pros to the blacktop, and as the one who spurred the now-legendary #WNBATwitter ad about why the league is so important.

And all that came together to make her the most logical candidate to be the next designer of Wilson’s WNBA Women’s Series basketball.

Chambers, who is also an advisor to Wilson, began working on the ball with the brand a year ago, shortly after designer and model Beija Velez launched the first edition. The whole way, all parties involved worked to ensure every square inch of the final product reflected Chambers’ personality and ambitions. Ultimately, they wound up with a ball that has a black base, copper-orange lines, and plenty of Ari-specific iconography.

“This is a year’s worth of love and intention behind creating something that’s representative of the WNBA and women’s sports as a whole,” Chambers told Boardroom. “It’s really cool to watch it come to fruition, but beyond just the ball itself, I’ve acquired a family. Wilson’s slogan is ‘bonded by ball.’ I think that’s something you can’t put a finger on. It’s beyond words.”

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The most prominent design on the. ball, stretching across each panel, is a map of Raleigh, Chambers’ hometown. Her alma maters — Southeast Raleigh Magnet School and North Carolina State University — are both represented in a crest that sits in the panel below the WNBA logo.

Image via Wilson

The words “We Are _____” appear in another panel, which Chambers says represents her belief that people should be free to define themselves however they choose.

“How you define yourself isn’t a linear path,” she said. “There are going to be ups and downs. Right now I feel powerful. Tomorrow, I might feel shitty. This year, [I’m] audacious. Next year, I could be probably patient or graceful. You can always change it, so I left it open-ended. No matter what day, month, week, however you feel, you can keep it open and forever changing.”

Image via Wilson

Perhaps most importantly, there’s a blurb in one panel that reads, “This basketball is dedicated to the future of storytelling & celebrating the game-changing experiences of women and non-binary athletes everywhere.”

It was critical, to Chambers, for the blurb to specifically call out non-binary people as well as women. She’s dedicated her life to covering women’s sports, and the WNBA in particular. She wanted the ball to represent the same inclusivity the league iteself strives for.

“The WNBA has women and non-binary athletes within it,” she said. “I wanted to make sure it was representative of all who have been in [the WNBA] and are in it now. We can’t discuss the WNBA without acknowledging non-binary people.”

That accessibility — for everyone — is what this ball, highlightHER, and everything Chambers has done since she got her start in media all comes down to. She’s quick to point out that women receive only 4% of sports media coverage. The ball is representative of the work she’s put in to change that.

The Air Chambers x Wilson WNBA Women’s Series basketball will be available at Wilson’s store at 10 Columbus Circle in Manhattan on Aug. 17 and online on Aug. 18.

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.