Real, as the phrase goes, recognizes real. Naomi Osaka — who garnered attention at last year’s US Open for wearing a series of masks honoring victims of police brutality — made another fashion statement ahead of her first round match against Marie Bouzkova on Monday.
The reigning US Open champion drew inspiration in the form of WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu, pulling up to the Flushing Meadows practice courts rocking Ionescu’s No. 20 New York Liberty.
It was a move that didn’t go unnoticed by the team’s Twitter account — or Ionescu, who also smashed the RT button on ESPN’s tweet.
We love to see it! #OwntheCrown https://t.co/OOOGfyoNKT
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) August 30, 2021
Osaka’s decision to don the jersey comes fresh on the heels of the 23-year-old’s first time attending a WNBA game on Friday night.
Good luck in the U.S. Open, Naomi 🥰 pic.twitter.com/s7GSzYEry6
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 28, 2021
Despite Ionescu’s squad, the hometown Liberty, getting worked 80-64 by the Phoenix Mercury — New York is now 1-5 since the WNBA’s Olympic break — the tennis star was a huge fan of the experience.
Went to my first @WNBA game. I am in love and constantly inspired by strong, athletic, and beautiful women 😌🥰
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) August 28, 2021
An immaculate endorsement.
If Osaka wins the tournament then New York is winning the WNBA finals this year. OK, that’s admittedly an aggressive take, but maybe the injury-laden Liberty will at least be able to turn it around in time to keep their playoff hopes alive.