In recent weeks, three-time WNBA Champion, five-time Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi has continued to demonstrate why people consider her the GOAT (greatest of all time) in women’s basketball. She became the WNBA’s leading scorer in 2017, and on August 3 she cemented her legacy by becoming the first WNBA player to score over 10,000 career points.
“Diana’s achievement stands as a testament to her skill, determination and unwavering dedication to the game, which along with her competitive nature has captivated fans with her incredible scoring ability, clutch performances and unparalleled basketball IQ. We are honored to witness this milestone,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
The milestone came as Taurasi’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, secured a 91–71 victory over the Atlanta Dream. She scored 42 points in the game, including six three-pointers. Live goats were even on hand at Footprint Center. After the game, Taurasi reflected on where her basketball journey began—in her family’s driveway.
“It was just a kid who liked to play basketball in her front yard,” said Taurasi. “Everyone was welcome to come and play. Sometimes you forget that it is supposed to be fun. As the years have gone by, I have to keep reminding myself that when you do something you love, it is not your job. It is not work. It is just your passion.”
Mercury coach Nikki Blue marveled at Taurasi’s accomplishment. “For her to show that she’s still at the top of her game, it was really a sight to see,” said Blue. “Just to be able to witness this tonight was truly special and only the way the Diana Taurasi could do it. Forty-two points at 41-years-old? You guys! We have never seen anything like this. It was so much fun.”
Taurasi, the top pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, is in her 19th WNBA season (she sat out 2015). Now 41, married to former Mercury teammate Penny Taylor and the mother of two, Taurasi does not talk about retirement, but has indicated she doesn’t anticipate coaching when that time comes. One can only hope that she remains connected to the game and sport of basketball.
There have been many incredible players over the WNBA’s 27 seasons, but Taurasi stands out for her athleticism, swagger, charisma and the ability to make those around her better. She is simply an icon, and I’m proud to admit my favorite player. Here’s to a few more milestones before she exits the arena.