Meet the Wilson Sportswear Advisory Staff
Get to know the athletes who are helping to shape the future of the business.
For more than a century, Wilson has worked with athletes to design, test and refine equipment to make it the best in the game. This elite group of athletes and consultants is known as the Wilson Advisory Staff, a network of more than 10,000 players and coaches worldwide who serve as Wilson’s guiding light.
The Advisory Staff plays a crucial role at every point of the product life cycle, from ideation to storytelling. Their stories inspire us. Their pain points fuel our innovation. When athletes ask, Wilson delivers. Athlete insight has been crucial to Wilson for 106 years and counting, so when it came time to develop a clothing line, it was only natural to apply the same tried-and-true process.
The new Wilson Sportswear Advisory Staff is living proof that whether you still play your sport competitively, the athlete mindset is always a part of you.
So, who are they? This new class of Ad Staff includes a model, a designer, a creative consultant, a stylist, an on-camera host… and that’s just Beija Velez. Along with Beija, there’s:
- Jahmal Cole, the founder and CEO of Chicago’s fastest-growing social impact organization
- Phil Leyesa, clothing and sneaker designer
- Thai Nieve, director/photographer/writer
- Zaire Franklin, Colts Special Teams Captain and nonprofit founder
- Kelley James, golfer/musician
- Trisha Goyal, entrepreneur and sports startup founder
- Spencer Paysinger, former NFL linebacker and television producer
- Ellen Hyslop, Roslyn McLarty and Jacie DeHoop, co-founders of a sports media startup
- Joey Mahalic, former MLB pitcher-turned-entrepreneur
- Riley and Maddison McKibbin, pro beach volleyball players
- Dane Morck, former college football player and television producer
- Wkwesi Williams, pro tennis player-turned private instructor
- Aleshia Ocasio, pro softball player
- Anthony Hamilton, media personality and basketball dunker
Each member pursues excellence in everything they do. Relentless progress is their goal, and that never-say-die spirit has landed each of them where they are today. Their chosen professions are different and multi-faceted, and they are all at the top of their games thanks to that never-ending athlete mentality.
“Life is about being on a team. It’s about trying to achieve a goal and move forward with what you’re doing. Sports teach you how to deal with failures, how to control what you can control. And there’s just so much that translates to life,” said Joey Mahalic.
Advisory Staff feedback has always been the driving force behind our most iconic and game-changing equipment ‒ gear that each new member of the Ad Staff has relied on throughout their athletic careers. Like the OPTX AVP, a beach volleyball designed to give players better visibility (a favorite of the McKibbin brothers). Or the GST Prime, a football with added grip points to help quarterbacks throw off-laces.
“I used to say those things [GSTs] throw themselves,” laughed Mahalic.
“I played with Wilson throughout my whole junior career and my pro career,” said Wkwesi Williams. “All through the recruiting process, in tournaments, I’ve played with the Pro Staff.”
“It’s iconic. It’s 100+ years of heritage and swag and sauce. This just definitely feels like a full-circle moment for me because I’ve hooped with Wilson my whole life,” said Beija Velez. “It’s also a complete honor to work with a team that has really witnessed me not only as a basketball player but has honored my creative integrity as well.”
“We have chosen this dynamic group of inspiring leaders because of their enthusiasm for sport and passion off the court or field,” said Jessica Easter, Director of Community Marketing for Wilson Sportswear. “We know they will ignite excitement about Wilson Sportswear and help Wilson transcend the equipment category and transform into a magnetic culture brand at the intersection of sport, culture, and fashion.”
And the new class of Ad Staff’s diverse range of experiences has already begun to influence Wilson Sportswear.
The design team worked closely with the new members to create garments that would meet their varied needs. They studied pain points and found clever solves -- like hidden pockets for headphones and ultra-breathable fabrics that feel great whether you’re hustling on the court or hustling between meetings. (Most of these Advisory Staff members do both.)
“Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good,” Mahalic said. “When I feel confident in what I’m wearing, I feel confident in what I’m doing.”
The Wilson Sportswear Advisory Staff will continue to help shape the future of the line, and they are up to the challenge.
“The beautiful part of working with Wilson for me is that I love anyone who is willing to do something different,” said musician Kelley James. “To take a legacy and get creative with it -- I want to be part of that.”
The team will continue to serve as design inspiration, fit models and wear-testers. Their influence will be seen through collaborations and new drops. And most importantly, they will help ensure that the Sportswear line is empowering every human to live like an athlete.
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Check out the entire collection of Wilson Sportswear apparel here.