Liberal Arts Blog — Diana Taurasi: Greatest WNBA Player of All Time?
Liberal Arts Blog — Saturday is the Joy of Sports, Dance, Fitness, and All Things Physical Day
Today’s Topic: Diana Taurasi (1982 — ): Greatest WNBA Player of All Time?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall who is the greatest female basketball player of them all? Well, many have said Diana Taurasi, who was given the nickname “White Mamba” by Kobe Bryant. Taurasi is the all-time WNBA scoring leader and was the first to exceed 9000 points. She has won a record five Olympic Gold Medals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020). Her father was an Italian soccer player raised in Argentina. Her mother was Argentinian. They emigrated to the US before she was born. She is 6 feet 0 inches tall, about the average for a WNBA player. Today, a few more notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
PPG (points per game): 19.4, RPB (rebounds per game), 4.0 APG (assists per game), 4.3
1. “Taurasi hasn’t won the most championships, and she hasn’t won the most MVPs. But it is her consistent offensive greatness and her longevity that set her apart from her peers”
2. “Others have been “better” over specific stretches or had stronger concentrations of dominance, but what makes Taurasi special is that she has been one of the top performers for a long time. Her first All-WNBA honor was in 2004, her rookie season.” (third link below)
TWO RIVALS: CYNTHIA COOPER (Indiana Fever, 2002–2016) AND TAMIKA CATCHINGS (Houston Comets, 1997–2000, 2003)
1. Cynthia Cooper (above) has a higher career scoring average at 21.0. “She led the Fever to playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons.” Cynthia Cooper is 5 foot 10.
2. Tamika Catchings (below) has a claim to being a more complete player: “the only player in the league to ever finish a season in the top 10 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks — and do it twice.” (Tamika Catchings is 6 foot 1.)
TAURASI QUOTES — Learning from the greats, inadequacy, family, aging
1. “The one thing I’ve learned from other great players is that you are what you do every single day.”
2. “I go to sleep every single night thinking I’m not good enough. I really do. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not. But I really do have a fear of not being good, and I don’t like that.”
3. “If anything, when you play against family, you never want to lose, whether it’s your sister or it’s your best friend. When you know that person so well, at the end of the day, you want to beat them.”
NB: “I even love getting older, and knowing maybe I can’t do one thing as well, but then trying to figure out how to do something else. That inner drive, I have it every day.”
FOOTNOTES — PLAYING FOR RUSSIA — “a strange parallel universe” (fourth link)
1. “We’re like hired assassins over here…” (Taurasi)
2. “I guess I don’t want to say that too loud these days,” she added, scanning the room in mock secrecy. “Visas revoked!”
3. “I’ve probably drunk enough vodka for a village,” Taurasi said. With the weather as poor as it is, she added, and nothing to do, one “might as well be hung over.” “And you can’t not drink. You must drink. It’s just part of the world here. Any Russian team: You win, you drink. You lose, you drink.”
NB: Players for the WNBA can earn far more abroad than in the US. Taurasi’s overseas career began in Moscow in 2005 with Dynamo Moscow. In 2006 she was recruited by Spartak Moscow. In 2010, she played for a Turkish team from Istanbul, Fenerbahce and then a year later switched to its rival Galatastaray, also from Istanbul. From 2012 to 2014 and then from 2016 to 2017 she played for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg
For the last four years of posts organized by theme:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to sports, dance, fitness. Or the coolest thing you learned about Sports, Dance, of Fitness in your life — whether on the field, on the dance floor or in the gym, whether from a coach, a parent, a friend, or just your own experimentation.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. Or even change their life. It’s perhaps a chance to put into words something you have never articulated before. And to cement in your own memory something cool you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.