During halftime of the WNBA All-Star game on July 23, 2011, the sister league to the NBA took the opportunity to honor the 15 top WNBA players from the first 15 years of the league’s history.
The list of 15 included, in alphabetical order by last name: Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper*, Yolanda Griffith*, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie*, Ticha Penicheiro, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley*, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi, Tina Thompson, and Teresa Weatherspoon*
The 15 players were mixed with retired players (Cooper, Staley*), current superstar players (Hammon, Catchings), and the next generation of superstars (Taurasi, Pondexter).
Only two players remain from the inaugural 1996 season – Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson and three of the players started their careers in the WNBA-rival league, the ABL – Yolanda Griffith, Katie Smith, and Dawn Staley.
Read the statement released by the WNBA President Laurel J. Richie:
“The 15 athletes honored today represent an extraordinarily accomplished group and the very best in women’s professional basketball from around the world. In just the few months I’ve been with the WNBA, I have had an opportunity to meet each of the current players on this list as well as some of the legends who paved the way. I have found that they are not only tremendous athletes who have reached extraordinary heights on the court, but also terrific women who give unselfishly of their time in the community. I am proud to be associated with these outstanding women; and I am so pleased for them that the fans, media members, and the current generation of players and coaches, have chosen to recognize and honor them.”
Congratulations to the top 15 WNBA players of all time! What about Natalie Williams, Delisha Milton-Jones and Candace Parker? Do you agree with the selections? Discuss in our WNBA top 15 players thread.
(No offense Rebecca Lobo but I am glad they didn’t try to push you into the elite group as they did in the early WNBA marketing days)