Women in sports are accelerating and reaching new heights now more than ever. The league is witnessing high viewer ratings and a surge in game attendance this season as the latest generation of WNBA players faces off against veterans and active legends. As supporters tune in to watch these women put on a show, a dive into the greatest ever to walk the courts is needed.
Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, and Diana Taurasi are five WNBA players who contributed to the league's success. Their legendary careers paved the way for many of our favorite women's basketball players, and their styles have influenced the game we love today.
Here are a few details about these five former and active legends—to prove they're the best to grace the court.
The 2x WNBA Champion is currently a coach for the BIG3's Triplets, which played in the 2023 championship game against the Enemies in London on August 26. Yet before using her talent on the other side of the court, Leslie dominated the WNBA during her time in the league. She's an 8x WNBA All-Star, 3x WNBA MVP, 2x Defensive Player of the Year, and more. She played center and was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks—where she spent her entire career.
During the 1997 inaugural season, Swoopes was selected by the Houston Comets and never looked back. She became a 4x WNBA Champion and 6x WNBA All-Star and was inducted into the Houston and Texas Sports Hall of Fame. She's also the second WNBA player to snag a regular season MVP award and an MVP award in the All-Star game—right behind Lisa Leslie.
For Catchings, it's 10s across the board! She's a 10x WNBA All-Star and a 10x WNBA All-Defensive First Team. In 2012, she snagged a WNBA Championship and finals MVP award. Catchings' iconic #24 Indiana Fever jersey is retired, and she still holds the record for the WNBA playoffs all-time steals leader.
At 37, Parker is still making her mark in the league. After being drafted to the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008, the athlete wasted no time standing out. She's a 2x WNBA Champion—snagging the title with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016 and the Chicago Sky in 2021. Parker is a 7x WNBA All-Star and led the league in rebounds in 2008, 2009 and 2020.
Taurasi's reign is not slowing down, as she recently became the first WNBA player to score 10,000 career points. The 2004 first-overall pick was drafted to the Phoenix Mercury, where she remains. She's a 3x WNBA Champion, 10x WNBA All-Star, and a 2x WNBA Finals MVP.
As the WNBA evolves, more women athletes will get their chance to be one of the greats. Support for the league is surging, and it's only up from here!