Love & Basketball: The Top 8 Queer Love Stories of 2023’s WNBA All Star Weekend

Feature image use of Brittney Griner and Cherelle Griner from the 2023 WNBA All Star game by Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Chelsea and Tipesa Grey via Preston Collins for the Klutch Sports Group

If you, like me, have watched Love & Basketball so many times that you can quote “Who you goin’ to the dance with anyway? Spalding?” and just so happened to have also grown up gay, then last weekend was Big News for you.

The 2023 WNBA All Star game (held in Las Vegas) was most certainly exciting for people who love — or even understand — the game of basketball. It was exhilarating for people who love Kehlani. She performed at the half time show, though ABC fumbled the bag by cutting away from her performance after only one song to replay the same commercials we’d been watching all night. But no matter what the final scoreboard read,* the true winners here were those of us who enjoy turning off our brains to the tune of queer celebrities looking beautiful and in looooove (ahem, with a little light gossip on the side). And for you I present: the Top 8 Queer Love Stories of the 2023 All Star Game.

*Team Breanna Stewart thoroughly whooped Team A’ja Wilson’s ass by nearly 20 points, for those of you who care about the so-called “game.” Ok now, for the rest of us! Vapid Fluff about attractive athletes and their partners! SPORTS!

Brittney and Cherelle Griner

Brittney Griner bends down to kiss her wife Cherelle Griner at the 2023 WNBA All Star game.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Alright, let’s start here with the royal court of the WNBA and no, I am not kidding. I think Brittney Griner was heavy on everyone’s heart this weekend because it was just this time last year the players of the All Star game all wore her number as a collective action of solidarity while she was wrongful detention in Russia; Cherelle watched from the stands. So having her back — having them both back, because no one fought harder for BG than Cherelle Griner — was a balm for our hearts and every time BG smiled or laughed or called herself an old grandpa of the game, it was like the sun itself shining. That’s just fact.

But Cherelle also made the rounds herself, living the kind of Basketball Wives: Lesbian Edition fantasy of my dreams. Click through for photos of her with a variety of WNBA spouses (including Chelsea Gray’s wife, Tipesa, who will be featured later in this roundup, along with Jaelynn Royal, the partner of Phoenix Mercury’s Sug Sutton, and Tia Canon, the wife of Indiana Fever’s Emma Cannon ). There’s also photos of Cherelle with celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and a particular Grey’s Anatomy onscreen couple that I think a few of y’all will care about 😉

But, on top of everything else, the real reason BG and Cherelle are first on this list is for this brief video. BG making sure Cherelle Griner was front row for Kehlani (she appears to be the only wife among the players on the floor?) is Top Tier Black Love, and I shall not be told differently.

Chelsea and Tipesa Gray

Once again I must ask you to scroll through the carousel, because on the sixth slide there is a photo of Chelsea and Tipesa with BG and Cherelle that made me full on squeal like a teenager.

Note Cherelle’s comment on the post itself, “We had a time ♥️” followed by Chelsea commenting about her wife, “Girl you fine 😍”

Will I ever get over watching all these beautiful Black couples in love? Have you met me??

(This is also a great time for a reminder that for the Las Vegas Aces Pride Night in June, Chelsea full-on wore a t-shirt immortalizing her wedding kiss with Tipesa and I have simply never recovered from that flex.)

Candace Parker and Ana Petrakova-Parker

Candace Parker had a fairly low-key All Star weekend, but she and her wife hosted their second annual Ace Party (sponsored by Adidas) and if Candace just, you know, slowly retires into being the mayor of All Star Weekend Party City — where she wears perfectly fitting suits, drinks expensive brown liquor, and raps Jay-z lyrics to anyone who will listen, living her best life — I would love that look for her.

Breanna Stewart and Marta Xargay

Breanna Stewart not only won the actual All Star game, but Stewie walking the red excuse me, orange, carpet with her wife Marta, who is approximately fiftyeleven months pregnant, perhaps won the entire weekend.

Marta is due in October. Their first daughter, Ruby (whom Stewie just named a pair of signature Pumas after), was also a star of the weekend — I just gotta say.

Breanna Stewart holding her daughter Ruby during the 2023 WNBA All Star Game warm ups.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley

Listen ok, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley will always be in the Hall of Fame, all they have to do is show up, because the wives won a whole ass championship together in 2022 while playing for the Chicago Sky — and who does that???? That is a movie.

Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner

Speaking of relationships that double as movie plots — Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner are not only girlfriends who both play on the same team (literally, not as in the metaphorical gay team of which we are all a part, they both play for the Connecticut Sun)… oh no, that’s not enough for these overachievers! They were also All Star Teammates. Now where they do that at?!?!

And yes, technically this post of them isn’t All Star weekend related, but it’s so sexy, I had to share.

(Also congratulations to Alyssa, who in addition to being a whole vibe is the current record holder for most triple-doubles in a single WNBA season and it’s not even close.)

Destanni Henderson and Zariah Lynn

Now its time introduce some young love to our roundup! Destanni Henderson came to All Star Weekend with a few other recent grads of the South Carolina Gamecocks (my favorite college team, because around here we are Dawn Staley for life) to support Aliyah Boston, their former South Carolina teammate and the first Rookie to make a WNBA All Star starting five since 2014!!! They all rented a house together and it was very much giving “I’m doing a girls trip in my early 20s” in every possible best way.

I mean, look at this photo??

An Instagram Story of a variety of young Black girls in their early 20s, all piled together in a bathroom mirror.

Photo courtesy of Zia Cooke on Instagram

But! We are here to talk about Henny and Zariah, who also run a YouTube channel together. I have never watched a Get Ready With Me influencer-style video in my life before this moment, and for these cuties, young and in love, I would do it 20 times more.


WNBA ALL STAR GAME 💫 #fyp #wnba #allstargame

♬ original sound – Zariah 😚

Nalyssa Smith and DiJonai Carrington

Speaking of young love! I saved Nalyssa and DiJonai for last because I love everything about their little love story.

First, they met while playing ball together in college (I think they won a national championship together for Baylor in 2019? But I haven’t double checked the dates on that). Then, they started dating last year, coincidentally also around the time of the All Star game. And now, here they are celebrating their first anniversary and still going strong?

Tell me you aren’t ready to fire up Love & Basketball for the approximately thousandth time and start all over again.

Love is not a lie for the next 15 minutes or the time it took you to finish this post. Tell a friend. 🏀 ❤️

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen Phillips is Autostraddle's former editor in chief. She began at Autostraddle in 2017 as a freelance team writer and worked her way up through the company, eventually becoming the EIC from 2021-2024. A Black Puerto Rican feminist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University, Carmen specializes in writing about Blackness, race, queerness, politics, culture, and the many ways we find community and connection with each other.  During her time at Autostraddle, Carmen focused on pop culture, TV and film reviews, criticism, interviews, and news analysis. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. And there were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. To reach out, you can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.

Carmen has written 716 articles for us.


    • I was there this weekend, and it was truly inspiring. Even though love is a lie as far as I’m concerned, it was nice to see that it isn’t for other people.

      Now I need news on whether ER Fightmaster and Caterina Scorscone are a couple or just gal pals.

  1. Is anyone watching the craziness of the audio issues happening right now for the Phoenix/Conn game? Like how?? How is it not fixed through a whole quarter (so far)??

    Sorry this is about OT for this post but don’t know where else to post.

  2. i wonder if Cherelle got to be on the floor w/ BG because after last year crowds are hard for her? and having her person close helps? i can imagine parting wold be kinda tough. whatever the reason, glad to see it.

  3. I NEED a WNBA Basketball Wives edition IMMEDIATELY. Someone please make this.

    Amazing article! Thank you for this beautiful coverage of so much Black queer love especially.

    Also, me and my partner are faithful queer basketball historians in our house and we had no clue DiJonai Carrington is 1) gay and 2) dating Nalyssa Smith until just this past week and we were so floored we did not know this tea, so thank you for doing the legwork to show just how gosh darn happy and cute they are!

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