The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) today unveiled its list of the top 25 players in its 25-year history, which is a list of the top 25 players from the WNBA’s first 25 seasons. The list was voted on by the WNBA’s current players, who were asked to select the greatest player from each of the WNBA’s first 25 seasons. Top-ranked Diana Taurasi, a seven-time WNBA All-Star, was the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer for nine consecutive seasons – a record she shares with league great Lisa Leslie – and was a two-time WNBA MVP winner.
The WNBA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and the league’s top players will be honored in a list of the best players of all time. The WNBA compiled a list of the top 25 WNBA players of all time, with the latter of which is made of finalists who never played in the league.
The WNBA is looking to its history and celebrating its 25th season this year with a list of the top 25 players ever to take the court in the league’s history. The list was unveiled on Monday, and it’s a mix of some of the league’s biggest stars and some of its biggest names who played before its inception.
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ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel
- Mechelle Voepel is an espnW reporter that covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports. Voepel has been with ESPN since 1996 and has covered women’s basketball since 1984.
The roster of “The W25,” which was released Sunday by the WNBA in honor of its 25th anniversary season, features ten current players, including five-time Olympians Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi and three three-time MVPs.
It’s “a compilation of the 25 best and most important players in WNBA history,” according to the league, with individuals chosen based on their overall contributions.
The WNBA started with 72 candidates who were selected based on their on-court skills, leadership, sportsmanship, and community involvement. The W25 was selected by a panel of media and women’s basketball pioneers/advocates voting.
Bird, now in her 18th season, and Taurasi, now in her 17th, have played their entire WNBA careers with the clubs that selected them. Both clubs have secured postseason berths this season, with Bird having four WNBA titles with the Storm and Taurasi having three with the Mercury.
Tina Charles and Elena Delle Donne (both with Washington); Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota); Brittney Griner (Phoenix); Angel McCoughtry (Las Vegas); Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles); Candace Parker (Chicago); and Breanna Stewart (Chicago) are the other active players on the W25 (Seattle).
Bird, who is 40 years old, is the oldest of the current players, while Stewart, who is 27 years old, is the youngest.
Maya Moore, who hasn’t played since the 2018 season but hasn’t declared her retirement, is also on the list.
Three-time MVPs Lisa Leslie and Lauren Jackson, who spent their entire WNBA careers with Los Angeles and Seattle, respectively, and Sheryl Swoopes, who spent the most of her career with Houston, lead the 14 retiring players. All three are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, with Jackson being inducted into both this year.
Seimone Augustus, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Ticha Penicheiro, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson, and Lindsay Whalen are among the other retired players on the list.
Augustus, Bird, Cooper, Moore, Swoopes, Thompson, and Whalen are among the W25 members who have won at least one WNBA championship. Charles and McCoughtry have yet to win a title in their careers, while Hammon has yet to win one.
All of the regular-season MVPs in league history were on the W25 list, with the exception of 2020 winner A’ja Wilson, 25, of Las Vegas.
The candidates had to have played for at least two seasons for a WNBA club and meet four of the following seven criteria: win a major individual award; be named to the All-WNBA first or second teams; be named to the All-Defensive first or second teams; be named an All-Star; win a WNBA championship; be ranked in the top 40 career leaders in at least one major statistical category; or receive the WNBA’s season-long Community Assist Award.
Starting Sunday at 5 p.m. ET and ending Sept. 19, WNBA fans will be able to vote for their favorite player as the best in WNBA history in the “Vote for the GOAT” campaign. Fans may cast their votes on the WNBA’s website and app, as well as on Twitter. The winner will be announced in October during the WNBA Finals.
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