The 20 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history were announced today, and three current Minnesota Lynx players, and a former player, are among those chosen by a 15-member committee of Hall of Famers, current and former coaches, and media members.
Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen, and former Lynx player Katie Smith, now a New York Liberty assistant coach were named today to the WNBA Top 20 @ 20 team. Tuesday’s announcement also was made to mark the league’s first regular season game played on June 21, 1997 in Los Angeles.
“They represent the hopes and dreams of generations of young girls all over the world — the future of the WNBA,” declared WNBA President Lisa Borders in a released statement.
Along with Augustus, Moore and Whalen, Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, Swin Cash, Cappie Pondexter, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are the nine current players honored.
In addition to Smith, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Yolanda Griffith, Lisa Leslie, Deanna Nolan, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson, Teresa Witherspoon, Ticha Penicheiro, Becky Hammon and Lauren Jackson.
“When I think of Tamika, the first thing that comes to my mind is energy,” noted Moore of Catchings, who will be retiring at the end of the season. “Everywhere she goes, whether on the court or in the community, the teammates she interacts with, the passion that she brings and that she plays with.”
“It’s an honor and it feels good,” said Taurasi prior to the announcement during Monday’s media conference call, which included the MSR, when asked about being among the 60 nominated players. “There are so many great players.”
“The WNBA gave [us] all the opportunity and the power to play our sport,” said Witherspoon to the MSR in a conference call earlier this month. She, as a member of the New York Liberty, played in the very first league game 20 years ago. “We understood the magnitude and responsibility not just to play but perform real well.”
All total, 14 of the 20 players selected are Black or females of color.
“Of the more than 850 players who have taken the court during our 20 seasons, I can’t think of 20 women who better represent where the league has come from and where it is headed,” stated Renee Brown, the league’s player personnel vice president. Brown has been a league executive ever since its founding in 1996 and perhaps is the longest-serving Black female executive in pro sports.
Read more on Seimone Augustus in this week’s Another View.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.