Ten current players, including five-time Olympians Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, and three players who have been three-time MVPs, highlight The W25’s list, unveiled by the WNBA on Sunday to celebrate its 25th anniversary season.
The league called them “a collection of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history,” with players selected based on their overall contributions.
The WNBA began with 72 nominees, selected based on factors such as performance and skills on the pitch, leadership skills, athleticism, and community service. Votes from a panel of the media and basketball pioneers / advocates for women decided the W25.
Seattle’s Bird in their 18th season and Phoenix’s Taurasi in their 17th season have spent their entire WNBA careers with the teams that designed them. Bird has four WNBA championships with the Storm and Taurasi three with the Mercury; Both teams have won playoff spots this season.
The other active W25 players listed on the team everyone is currently playing for are: Tina Charles and Elena Delle Donne (both with Washington); Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota); Brittney Griner (Phoenix); Angel McCoughtry (Las Vegas); Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles); Candace Parker (Chicago) and Breanna Stewart (Seattle).
Bird, 40, is the oldest of the selected players and Stewart, 27, is the youngest.
Also on the list is Maya Moore, who has not played since the 2018 season but has not announced her retirement.
The 14 retired players are led by three-time MVPs Lisa Leslie and Lauren Jackson, who played their entire WNBA careers in Los Angeles and Seattle, respectively, and Sheryl Swoopes, who spent most of their careers with Houston. All three are featured in the Naismith and Women’s Basketball Halls of Fame, with Jackson inducted into both this year.
The other retired players on the list are Seimone Augustus, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Ticha Penicheiro, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson and Lindsay Whalen.
22 members of the W25 have won at least one WNBA title, led by four each for Augustus, Bird, Cooper, Moore, Swoopes, Thompson and Whalen. Hammon hasn’t won a championship in their career, and Charles and McCoughtry are still looking for their first.
All but one of the regular season MVPs in league history – 2020 recipient A’ja Wilson, 25, of Las Vegas – were on the W25 list.
The nominees must have been on a WNBA team for at least two seasons and meet four of the following seven criteria: win a grand individual award; be elected to either the first or second team of the All-WNBA; be elected to either the first or second all-defensive team; be selected as an All-Star; win a WNBA championship; to be currently among the top 40 career ladders in at least one main statistical category; or be a recipient of the WNBA’s seasonal Community Assist Award.
WNBA fans can vote their favorite player as the greatest in WNBA history in the Vote for the GOAT campaign, which begins Sunday at 5pm ET through September 19, the end of the regular season. Fans can vote on the WNBA website and app or on Twitter. The winner will be announced during the WNBA Finals in October.