Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Sequoia Holmes’ attire on this weeknight represents her Las Vegas basketball roots. The women’s professional player is walking through the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel, on the way to watch Pierre Jackson play for Maccabi Tel Aviv and sporting a shirt with his catchphrase, “#theysleep.”
They formed a friendship as children raised in Southern Nevada basketball gyms, and as Holmes says, we take care of each other in our local hoops community. It’s a tight-knit group who likes to keep tabs on each other, regardless of the distance.
Keeping tabs on Holmes will be easier this summer. The former Lady Rebels star finished last season with San Antonio of the WNBA, which announced this week it is relocating to Las Vegas for the 2018 season after being purchased by MGM Resorts International.
Holmes, 31, has played for three WNBA teams and been in training camp with five others since 2008. She played for 11 teams overseas, including her current team in Israel, Bnei Yehuda. She’s lucky to be home for two months of the year — well, until the WNBA returns in the late spring.
“I was pretty shocked at first because we didn’t have any inclination. I was like everyone else — I had no clue until I got a call from management,” she said. “I’m super excited, though. It’s home for me. If you have to relocate, there’s not a better place to go than home.”
Holmes' parents each worked for MGM. Never in her wildest imagination did she think she would, too. And never did she picture herself again representing Las Vegas on the basketball court. She played four seasons at UNLV through 2008, averaging 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a senior.
“Las Vegas has become the mecca of basketball with everything that happens in the summer, all of the AAU and NBA Summer League games,” she said. “The hockey team is doing good and the soon the Raiders will come. Las Vegas will be good for (the WNBA). The league is a good fit for the city.”
And Holmes should be a good fit as the team’s ambassador. She’s ready and willing to help promote the team, giving them a notable name for the roster in the initial season. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 3.3 points and 11.3 minutes per game last season.
“Whatever I can do for the league,” she said.
Holmes has played in 59 career WNBA games, including 17 with Houston in her rookie season of 2008 and 15 in 2010 with Phoenix. Overseas, she has played in eight different countries, and won the African Champions Cup in 2014 and 2016 with GD Inter-Clube de Luanda in Angola.
Along the way, her family has traveled abroad a handful of times to watch her play. Now, they’ll simply need to drive to Mandalay Bay Events Center. The local basketball community, especially up-and-coming girls players, will also be front-and-center.
When the league launched in 1996, it gave players such as Holmes, who played at Mojave High, something to strive for.
“This will have the same effect with the Las Vegas women’s basketball community,” she said. “Young girls will see that it’s possible to play this sport professionally.”