Former Ute Alissa Pili Receives A Special Welcome In Minnesota

Apr 24, 2024, 10:34 AM

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SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah women’s basketball star Alissa Pili is now a pro in the WNBA after the Minnesota Lynx picked her up at No. 8 in the 2024 Draft.

The Lynx organization hasn’t been shy in noting that they’ve wanted Pili for quite some time, and they’ve certainly demonstrated that with their recent warm welcome for the rookie.

Pili’s intro to Minnesota was celebrated by including local Native American tribes and Samoans in the area to showcase her heritage that is a source of pride for the outstanding player.

Pili made headlines in her senior season at Utah for attracting long lines of Indigenous and Polynesian people (she is part Inupiaq and Samoan) that often drove miles to watch someone who looked like them play college basketball.

Pili Power Takes Stage In Minnesota

For as good of a player as Pili is, she is also very humble, but understanding of her power of impact both on and off the court.

 

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Part of that power stems from Pili leaning into her heritage and the fact she is a role model for people that don’t often get to see themselves on big stages.

 

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“It’s honestly really crazy to me that I’m one of the first ones to be in this position with where I come from and what backgrounds I have,” Pili said back in February. “It brings me so much joy after games to have little girls come up to me and everyone is telling me how much of a role model I am for these little girls. In the past, they’ve never had someone to look up to and I’m that person now. It’s a lot of pressure, but I think it’s a blessing to be that person for other people. I do wish I had somebody like that growing up to look up to and follow in their footsteps.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Former Ute Alissa Pili Receives A Special Welcome In Minnesota