The WNBA thrived in the 2010s because of the everyday, enduring efforts of talented, engaging women’s basketball players. On their own steam, with neither sufficient marketing nor adequate financial investment, the players proved that women’s professional basketball is here to stay. As the decade winds to a close, we reflect on the players who made the biggest impact both on and off the court.
Here are the 10 best WNBA players of the 2010s:
2. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
Honors, achievements and numbers of note in the 2010s: 2014 WNBA champion, 2014 Finals MVP, 7x All-WNBA, 5x All-Star, 7x top 3 in 3-pointers made, 7x top 10 in points per game
Well, not when it comes to the 2010s. Taurasi’s greatness comes from a longevity that exceeds the past decade.
And yet the past decade has been integral to Taurasi’s resume. Even as she sat out the 2015 season and most of the 2019 season, it was quite a decade for the Phoenix Mercury guard.
Yes, she was the best player on the decade’s best team. And, over the course of the 2010s, she became the all-time leader in points, three pointers and offensive win shares, as well as top-three all time in assists. In 2018, at age 36, she registered the best effective field goal percentage of her career (.563), while also equaling her best offensive rating (120).
But Taurasi’s greatness (or her GOAT-ness) goes well beyond numbers. It is her immeasurable undeniability, epitomized by her absurd record in winner-take-all games, that makes her excellent.
Her importance also derives from the ways in which she expresses this undeniability.
Compared to many of her peers on this list, as well as across the league, Taurasi has not positioned herself as an activist, entrepreneur or entertainer. She is just a hooper — a passionate, proud and profane hooper. But because she is a no holds barred hooper, Taurasi has had great influence on the women’s game. She has introduced a new way of being for a woman athlete; one unconcerned with apologies, only with kicking your a**.
It is this attitude — just as much as her accomplishments — that makes DT the GOAT.