Darren Waller loves much about his new home city of New York, but he loves Kelsey Plum more.
One subplot to a powerhouse WNBA Finals matchup between the defending champion Las Vegas Aces and the Liberty superteam built to challenge the throne is that the best-of-five series puts the marriage of Giants tight end Darren Waller and Aces guard Kelsey Plum in the spotlight. Their cities collide beginning Sunday in Las Vegas.
“I’m definitely excited for the matchup and the talent,” Waller told The Post. “It looks to be a toss-up. I’m excited to see the Aces be challenged in that way because New York has the upper hand from the regular season [winning three of five meetings]. It’s going to be a battle.”
Waller spent three seasons (2020-22) in Las Vegas, where he starred for the Raiders and launched a podcast called “Comeback Stories.”
Plum — who is the all-time leading scorer in the history of women’s college basketball with 3,527 points at Washington and a former No. 1-overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft — joined as a guest after she found her stride in her return from a torn Achilles that sidelined her for the entire 2020 season.
Since then, Plum’s comeback story includes the three best seasons of her career — averaging 14.8, 20.2 and 18.7 points, respectively — two All-Star selections, an All-Star Game MVP, a championship … and a wedding earlier this year.
“Being in Vegas and knowing she tore her Achilles and came back and was playing some of the best basketball she’s played, I felt like it would be great for the podcast,” said Waller, who openly shares his story of recovery from drug addiction. “The conversation we had was really dope on a lot of levels, so we started hanging out.
“It’s important whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friend relationship to be able to have a safe place where you can show somebody all your scars and have them be like, ‘That’s OK.’ ”
The Raiders traded Waller to the Giants in March, on the day after the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon. Living 2,500 miles apart has its challenges — FaceTime calls and last-minute airline tickets — but a relationship between professional athletes has its advantages, too.
Waller leads the Giants with 15 catches for 153 yards, but neither he nor the team (1-3) is off to the anticipated fast start.
“However high or low the moment may be, we’ve seen so many different seasons and patches,” Waller said, “that we can relate to one another and know how to approach each other and support each other.”
Plum declined an interview request for this story through a spokesperson. Her undivided attention is on the series, which she can impact in many ways, including continuing to knock down uncontested 3s (11-of-23 in the playoffs).
The series shifts to Barclays Center for Game 3 next Sunday when the Giants are on the road to face the Bills. If there is a Game 4, Waller will be in the crowd.
Waller and Plum might get competitive over a board game — just like any couple — but work mostly stays at the stadium. He is, however, inspired by Plum’s commitment to her training.
“Knowing what each of our routines are, it’s extra motivation,” Waller said. “Matching their energy.”