A’ja Wilson Takes Us Behind The Scenes of Gatorade’s “Is It In You” Campaign

There are times when the game becomes a battle of will, and you either have it in you or you don’t. But A’ja Wilson didn’t work this hard just to get this far. Even as a two-time WNBA Champion, there’s still more to do, more to accomplish, more to win, more to work toward. 

She’s been faced with the same question that fuels Gatorade’s latest campaign, one that calls back to the heyday of the brand when Michael Jordan was drinking Citrus Cooler Gatorade from glass bottles. She’s been tested, pushed and proven. She’s come out on top, built a dynasty and become an icon. Those tests resonate deeply with A’ja’s journey, those moments of clarity when you have to choose; dig deeper or be satisfied. And A’ja Wilson is never satisfied. 

She points to the 2023 WNBA Finals as proof of the latter. “I think this past championship was something where IT was really tested a lot. You either got it, or you don’t. Your preparation sets you up for this moment,” Wilson tells SLAM.

That perspective was evident in mid-April when she was shooting the commercial that’s being rolled out as you’re reading this. Throwing it back to the late 90s, Gatorade has revived its “Is It In You?” campaign with a 60-second spot featuring A’ja alongside the brand’s elite athlete roster. 

When the brand presented her with the marketing deck that encapsulated the vibes and energy of the revised concept, A’ja was more than hyped. She felt connected. 

“I can’t even voice to you how I’m so excited that we’re taking it back to the vintage, like the old school, the ones that we really grew up on,” Wilson tells SLAM. “Being a 90s kid, growing up and seeing MJ, seeing all the other athletes, and now to finally be in it and be a part of a commercial that I used to watch, and now I’m going to be a part of the family as a whole, it’s been super exciting.”

We got the exclusive that A’ja was joining Gatorade’s elite roster in early May. With the brand’s history of fueling athletes for decades, Wilson wants to showcase the personable side of herself and her fellow athletes. 

“I think when you look at this roster and you look at the things that we do with Gatorade, it’s kind of like ‘yeah we grew up on this, but really we grew up on this. We really became adults on this one beverage and now here we are reppin’ it and it’s just truly amazing,” A’ja tells SLAM. “There’s a lot of people that see our roster and see the accolades and are like, oh my god they’re the elite of the elite. But they may not see we have whole humans that navigate through the world. So yeah, just to see that human side of it, the kid side of it, the tweets of A’ja, like no, they’re still human at the end of the day.”

It’s been nearly 30 years since Gatorade highlighted the IT within their athletes. As the landscape has changed, so has the brand’s mission for its modernized campaign. Today’s athlete journeys through a barrage of external pressures and expectations; from social media to finding the perfect team or training situation in an ecosystem filled with endless opportunities. 

For A’ja, her authenticity as an athlete—and a Black woman—is ever-present. It’s what anchors her to her why. She’s truthful, hilarious, and unapologetically herself. Through the years, she’s navigated these moments with both grace and dominance. Her will has been tested, questioned and praised, and as she explains her mindset and how she focuses on the constructive, the Las Vegas Aces’ team slogan from last season reemerges. 

Stay Poised Through the Noise.

“You can’t really escape it, it’s always going to be there. But the difference between good and great is how you can manage that noise, how you can stay poised through it,” A’ja explains. “What do you do in those moments? How can you be really in tune with yourself? And I think that’s so key even when it comes to Gatorade. You have to be inside yourself, good and centered at where you are so then you can project that out to everyone else.”

Photos via Gatorade.

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