The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) recently released their top 25 players of all time list, which showcases the league’s top 25 players since its birth in 1996. The list wasn’t easy to make, as it began with 72 nominees and was narrowed down to the top 25. The final list features 15 retired legends, and 10 who are still in the WNBA, paving their legacy for generations to come.
To be named to this exclusive list, players had to meet four of these seven criteria: be selected to either the All-WNBA First Team or All-WNBA Second Team; be selected to either the WNBA All-Defensive First Team or WNBA All-Defensive Second Team; be selected to the WNBA All-Star Game; be a member of a WNBA Championship team; are currently ranked among the top 40 career leaders in at least one major statistical category; and/or a recipient of the WNBA’s season-long Community Assist Award. So, this isn’t just a list of some good WNBA players. It’s the greatest players to have ever set foot on a WNBA basketball court.
The list of retired players:
The list of active players:
In addition to honoring all of these players, the WNBA is doing something called a GOAT vote, in which they are having fans vote who they think the greatest WNBA player of all time is. Voting has already begun and will end on September 19th, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. The GOAT will be revealed in the WNBA Finals, and you can vote on the WNBA website, app, or twitter. The way they are deciding is very civilized, instead of conducting Twitter surveys and letting fans argue among themselves.
Even though it’s 50 years younger, the NBA could learn something from the WNBA.
So, who should you vote for the GOAT? Not every player on this list is deserving of that title, but there are a few candidates that stand out a bit more than the rest. Let’s take a look at some of their resumes:
Taurasi is one of the most valid GOAT candidate choices. The 6’0″ point guard is a three-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, the 2009 WNBA MVP, a 10-time All-Star, 10-time member of the All-WNBA First-Team, four-time member of the All-WNBA Second-Team, was the Rookie of the Year in 2004, is the WNBA’s All-Time leading scorer, led the WNBA in assists in 2014, and was named the WNBA Peak Performer (an award that is given to the players that lead the WNBA in points, assists, and rebounds) six times. Bird, another player on this list, says that she personally believes Taurasi is the GOAT.
“There’s no question in my mind who it is. I know that there might be some bias there, which I totally own — maybe even generational bias just because I’ve been able to witness her firsthand, been her teammate [at the University of Connecticut and with USA Basketball], been her opponent. Just the way in which she’s played the game.
“I’ve always said it’s really what separates her, I think. Yes, it’s the amazing play. Yes, it’s the championships and the winning, of course. But the other two things are her style and the swag with which she did it and the last thing — which to me is the most important — is the fact that she’s been able to make her teammates better. There’s something about her style that’s infectious. Whoever’s on the court with her raises their game. I think for me that’s why she’s the GOAT.”Sue Bird to ESPN
Speaking of Bird, she has a great case for being the GOAT herself, as she tops Taurasi as a four-time WNBA champion, 12-time All-Star, 5-time member of the All-WNBA First Team, 3-time member of the All-WNBA 2nd team, led the WNBA in assists three different times, and is the WNBA’s all-time assist leader. She was also named a WNBA Peak Performer twice, and in 2011, was named one of the top 15 players ever in WNBA history. So, while Taurasi is the greatest scorer in WNBA history, Bird is the best passer. They have relatively similar levels of accomplishments, although the one award that Bird did not win in her Hall-of-Fame career was the MVP award.
Tamika Catchings is another player that deserves to be in the GOAT conversation. She is arguably the greatest defensive WNBA player ever, as she won an astounding five Defensive Player of the Year awards in her career! She won her only championship in 2012, and won Finals MVP that year. She won the WNBA MVP in 2011, is a 10-time All-Star, won the Rookie of the Year in 2002, led the WNBA in steals eight times, and was named to numerous All-WNBA teams, leaving the Indiana Fever no choice but to retire her jersey.
Lisa Leslie is another one of the game’s best defenders, as she won two Defensive Player of the Year awards, as well as two championships and two Finals MVPs. She won an impressive three MVPs, and was an 8-time All-Star. Her jersey is retired by both her college, USC, and the only team she played for in the WNBA, the Los Angeles Sparks. As a matter of fact, she was so good that before she had even reached high school, she had received over 100 different recruiting letters!
These four players are the four who I think have the best chance at being named the WNBA Goat. So, who am I going to vote for the GOAT? The greatest scorer is clearly Taurasi, the greatest passer is Bird, and the greatest defender is Catchings. However, I simply feel as though among the top three, Taurasi possesses the most power and means the most to her team, and so I will vote (and have voted) for her as the WNBA GOAT.
There isn’t much time left to vote for the GOAT, so vote while you still can here, don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!
One thought on “W25: Who Should You Vote for the GOAT?”
Another great Blog, with some really tough choices. Not sure when the results will be revealed, but I am going to break your rules and vote for several retired and active players. For the retired players I would vote for Becky Hammon and Swin Cash. Active players are Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Elena Delle Donne. These players were great leaders and lead by example. Please let us know when the results are in.
LikeLiked by 1 person