Another View’s WNBA all-time top 25

Photo courtesy of Twitter Rebekkah Brunson (with trophy)

The WNBA unveiled over Labor Day weekend its 25 all-time players list, but as usual it got mostly ignored by the male-dominated sports media save for #WNBA Twitter. 

“I wanted to recognize the greats who are somewhat underappreciated, so that’s why a few players are missing,” tweeted @JasTayler, who gave the MSR permission to use her tweets where warranted. 

The selection criteria that a group of chosen media commentators and others used were that players must have played at least two seasons and met four of seven criteria:

  1. won a major individual award
  2. selected to All-WNBA First or Second Team
  3. selected to All-Defensive First or Second Team
  4. selected to WNBA All-Star Games
  5. won a championship
  6. currently ranked among the top 40 leaders in one major statistical category
  7. received the WNBA Community Assist Award.

Our criteria included the above, but also the impact the player had on the league’s 25-year existence. More importantly, our W25 all-time list, in no particular order, are all Black women.

Photo courtesy of Twitter Dawn Staley

CHERYL FORD (2003-09) – 3-time champion, 2-time 2nd team all-W, 2007 All Star MVP, 2003 Rookie of the Year, 2-time rebounding champion.

REBEKKAH BRUNSON (2004-18) – Only W player to win five championships, five-time All Star, 2011 First Team All-Defensive, 6-time 2nd team All Defensive.

PLENETTE PIERSON (2003-17) – 3-time champion, 2007 6th Woman of the Year, 2015 All Star.

DEANNA “TWEETY” NOLAN (2001-09) – 3-time champion, 2006 Finals MVP, 5-time All Star, 2-time First Team All-W, 2003 Second Team, WNBA Top 20@20 (2016). “[Her] career in the WNBA could’ve been longer but she decided to play overseas in Russia full time due to salary reasons,” said @JasTayler.

CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW (1999-07; 2009-10) – Rookie of The Year, 6-time All Star, 3-time 2nd Team, 2002 scoring and rebounding champ, 2-time rebounding champion.

DAWN STALEY (1999-2006) – WNBA Top 15 (2011), 6-time All Star. “One of the greatest basketball minds on the planet,” said @JasTayler. “One of the greatest defenders ever.”

TERESA EDWARDS (2003-04) – The oldest rookie ever drafted (38 years old). Led Minnesota to its first two playoff appearances (2003-04).

TAJ MCWILLIAMS-FRANKLIN (1999-2012) – 2-time champion, 6-time All Star, 2-time 2nd team, 2005 All Defensive 2nd team, all-time offensive rebounder leader.

TERESA WITHERSPOON (1997-04) – One of the W’s original players. League’s first Defensive Player of the Year (1997, 1998), 2-time steals champ, 5-time All Star, W’s Top 15 (2011), Top 20@20 (2016). Started first five All Star Games. Forever known for “The Shot” she made in the 1999 Finals.

KIM PERROT (1997-98) – 3-time champion, died of cancer at age 32 in 1999. Sportsmanship Award is named for her.

JANETH ARCAIN (1997-03, 2005) – 4-time champion, 2001 All Star, 2001 Most Improved Player, 1st team All-W (2001).

VICKIE JOHNSON (1997-09) – First New York Liberty player to score 2,000 points, 2-time All Star, 2008 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

CANDICE DUPREE (2006-present) – 2004 champion, 7-time All Star, 2006 All-Rookie Team.

NYKESHA SALES (1999-07) – 8-time All Star. Once had the second longest starting streak (248 games), 2004 steals co-leader, 2004 second team.

NIKKI TEASLEY (2002-08) – 2002 champion, 2-time All Star, 2003 All Star Game MVP, 2-time 2nd team, 2-time assists leader.

TANGELA SMITH (1998-2012) – 2-time champion, 2006 All Star. Only missed 15 games her entire career.

RENEE MONTGOMERY (2009-20) – 2-time champion, 2012 6th Woman of the Year, 2011 All Star. First former player to become a co-owner (Atlanta, 2020).

MWADI MABIKA (1997-2008) – 3-time All Star, 2-time champion, 2002 1st team. Zaire-born, U.S. citizen since 2011.

ALANA BEARD (2004-19) – 2016 champion, 4-time All Star, 2006 2nd team, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5-time All-Defensive 1st team, 4-time 2nd team.

DEWANNA BONNER (2009-present) – 2-time champion, 4-time All Star, 2015 1st team, 2020 2nd team, 3-time 6th Woman.

KRISTI TOLIVER (2009-present) – 2-time champion, 2012 2nd team, 3-time All Star, 2012 Most Improved.

SHAVONTE ZELLOUS (2009-present) – 2012 champion, 2013 All Star, 2013 Most Improved, 2009 All Rookie.

NATALIE WILLIAMS (1999-2005) – 4-time All Star, 3-time 1st team.

CHELSEY GRAY (2014-present) – 2016 champion, 4-time All Star, 2019 1st team

SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH (2013-present) – 5-time All Star, 2-time 1st team, 2-time 2nd team, 2013 All Rookie, 2014 Most Improved.

A’JA WILSON (2018-present) – 2020 MVP, 3-time All Star, 2018 Rookie of The Year, 2020 1st team, 2020 All Defensive 2nd team, 2020 blocks leader.

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

View all posts by Charles Hallman →

Leave a comment below.