Remember the story about four-year-old Liliana Sikakane? Her dad, Justice, was on the way to a Twins game with Liliana and her older brother when they passed by the Maya Moore ‘Wings’ billboard. Liliana was full of questions. Can girls play basketball too? Do they get to be on TV?
Justice decided to change the family’s plans, and took his kids to the Lynx game instead of the Twins. He posted a picture of Liliana in front of the billboard on Twitter, her arms stretched out to her sides: just like Maya.
Liliana watched the game in the Target Center crowd. She heard the Lynx fans roar when Maya Moore came out to receive her ring, she witnessed the first game in the Lynx’s defense of their 2017 championship. It was a great day, and that could have been the end of it.
But today, Liliana and her dad were treated to something even more special.
Liliana was at Mayo Clinic Square today. She got a tour of the building, and after Lynx practice, she stopped in and was surprised by the real-life Maya Moore.
The moment when Liliana first saw Moore was a really special one. She looked at Maya, then back at her dad—there was an instant recognition, she’s the one from the poster!
Moore spent some time with Liliana showing her a few basketball fundamentals. The pair dribbled, passed, and shot on the Lynx practice court. Though Liliana wasn’t quite up to shooting on the full-sized hoop, Moore made a hoop out of her arms and Liliana swished it.
Afterward, the Lynx star had a gift for Liliana, a poster of Moore’s now iconic billboard. Moore signed the poster for her new friend:
“To Liliana, keep soaring!!”
They posed together, arms outstretched, Liliana standing in front of Moore, just like in the picture that went viral last week. For Justice, it was quite a moment.
“The anticipation coming up to it and then her reaction, I could just feel the tears coming. The way it panned out, it couldn’t have panned out any better,” he said.
“Being able to see my daughter just kind of in awe of someone that plays at the highest level in the WNBA, and someone that is a proven success story, something that she can see and recognize for herself based on her own interpretation, then for her to look back at me and share that moment of, ‘Dad you’re here with me when I’m seeing Maya Moore,’… I could just feel the tears,” Justice added.
Liliana and her family will be in attendance at Friday’s game against the Mercury. Fans who attending the game will also have an opportunity to pick up a ‘Wings’ poster of their own.