WNBA to honor 20 greatest players of all time

NEW YORK – In celebration of its landmark 20th season, the WNBA will honor the 20 greatest and most influential players in its history and announced today the 60 official nominees for the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon.

The WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon will be unveiled on ESPN’s SportsCenter: Face-to-Face with Hannah Storm during the 10 a.m. ET hour on June 21.  That date was chosen to honor the date of the league’s inaugural regular-season game in 1997.  ESPN Networks will promote the list throughout the day on various programs, including during ESPN’s noon ET SportsCenter: Coast-to-Coast with a Cari Champion interview with four-time WNBA champion Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, as well as ESPN2’s telecast of the Phoenix Mercury vs. Dallas Wings game at 8 p.m. ET.

The 60 nominees were selected based on factors like on-court performance and ability, leadership and sportsmanship, as well as contributions to team success.  In addition, all players must have been a member of a WNBA team for two seasons and met three of the following seven criteria: the winner of a major individual award; a selection to either the All-WNBA First Team or All-WNBA Second Team; a selection to either the WNBA All-Defensive First Team or WNBA All-Defensive Second Team; a selection to the WNBA All-Star Game; a member of a WNBA Championship team; a current ranking among the top 30 career leaders in at least one major statistical category; and a selection to either the WNBA’s All-Decade Team (voted on in 2006) or the WNBA’s Top 15 Players (voted on in 2011).

“Together with our partners Verizon and ESPN, we are delighted to recognize the very best in women’s professional basketball as part of the WNBA’s 20th season celebration,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders.  “The women of our league have played a major role in growing basketball around the world and are examples of the dreams that can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.  To honor this league’s ‘best of the best’ is certainly fitting on June 21, a truly historic day for the WNBA and the game.”

Voting for the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon will be conducted by a 15-member committee composed of women’s basketball pioneers Carol Blazejowski and Ann Meyers Drysdale; current and former WNBA head coaches Van Chancellor, Michael Cooper, Anne Donovan and Cheryl Reeve; and media members Doris Burke, Doug Feinberg, Mel Greenberg, Melanie Jackson, Howard Megdal, LaChina Robinson, Michelle Smith, Mechelle Voepel and Pam Ward.

Below are the 60 official nominees for the league’s WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon:  

Janeth Arcain Betty Lennox
Seimone Augustus Lisa Leslie
Sue Bird Mwadi Mabika
Alana Beard Angel McCoughtry
Ruthie Bolton Taj McWilliams-Franklin
DeWanna Bonner DeLisha Milton-Jones
Rebekkah Brunson Maya Moore
Swin Cash Deanna Nolan
Tamika Catchings Nneka Ogwumike
Tina Charles Wendy Palmer
Cynthia Cooper Candace Parker
Erika de Souza Ticha Penicheiro
Elena Delle Donne Plenette Pierson
Skylar Diggins Cappie Pondexter
Tamecka Dixon Nicole Powell
Katie Douglas Ruth Riley
Candice Dupree Danielle Robinson
Margo Dydek Nykesha Sales
Cheryl Ford Katie Smith
Sylvia Fowles Tangela Smith
Yolanda Griffith Dawn Staley
Brittney Griner Sheryl Swoopes
Jennifer Gillom Diana Taurasi
Becky Hammon Penny Taylor
Chamique Holdsclaw Nikki Teasley
Lauren Jackson Tina Thompson
Shannon Johnson Teresa Weatherspoon
Vickie Johnson Natalie Williams
Crystal Langhorne Lindsay Whalen
Kara Lawson Sophia Young-Malcolm


Earlier this year, the league tipped off its new campaign, “Watch Me Work,” that highlights the legacy of the WNBA and its inspiring current and former players. As an extension of this campaign, the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon platform will unveil 20 vignettes honoring each individual player.  The vignettes will debut on WNBA.com after the formal announcement and also air during WNBA games on ESPN2 throughout the season.