A Look Back at WNBA Most Valuable Players
Voting for the WNBA Most Valuable Player award takes place immediately following the regular season. The winner is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States.
Panel members were asked to select their top five choices for the award, with 10 points being awarded for a first place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth, and one for fifth.
1997: Cynthia Cooper
Aug. 20, 1997: Cynthia Cooper of the Houston Comets celebrates with her teammates after the championship game against the New York Liberty at The Summit in Houston, Texas. The Comets won the game, 65-51.
1998: Cynthia Cooper
Sept. 1, 1998: Guard Cynthia Cooper, No. 14 of the Houston Comets, in action against guard Bridget Pettis, No. 32 of the Phoenix Mercury, during Game Three of the WNBA Finals at the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. The Comets defeated the Mercury 80-71.
1999: Yolanda Griffith
Yolanda Griffith was a player in the now defunct ABL before becoming a team member of the Sacramento Monarchs. She was named the 1997-1998 ABL Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-ABL first team.
Griffith was selected as the No. 2 overall draft pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft. She is a seven-time WNBA All-Star and won the WNBA's MVP and Defensive Player awards in 1999.
2000: Sheryl Swoopes
Aug. 17, 2000: Sheryl Swoopes, No. 22 of the Houston Comets, poses with her trophy and WNBA President Val Ackerman after the WNBA Playoff Game One against the Los Angeles Sparks at the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. The Comets defeated the Sparks 77-56.
2001: Lisa Leslie
Aug. 26, 2001: Lisa Leslie, No. 9 of the Los Angeles Sparks, receives the WNBA Most Valuable Player trophy from Kirk Rimsnider, Regional Divisional Marketing Manager for the Buick Motor Division, prior to Game Two of the Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Monarchs at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Monarchs won 80-60.
2002: Sheryl Swoopes
Sheryl Swoopes earned her second MVP award in 2002. That year she also won Defensive Player of the Year.
2003: Lauren Jackson
Lauren Jackson, the all-time greatest Australian women's basketball player, took the MVP award in 2003. She has played her entire WNBA career with the Seattle Storm. She is a member of the Opals, Australia's national team.
2004: Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie won her second MVP award in 2004.
2005: Sheryl Swoopes
Sheryl Swoopes won her third MVP award in 2005.
2006: Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie won her third MVP award in 2006. Leslie and her husband, pilot Michael Lockwood, arrive at the 13th Annual ESPY Awards on July 13, 2005.
2007: Lauren Jackson
Lauren Jackson, No. 15 of the Seattle Storm, holds up her trophy after being named WNBA Most Valuable Player for 2007 prior to Game One of the WNBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sept. 5, 2007.
2008: Candace Parker
Pictured here at the 2008 ESPY awards, phenom Candace Parker swept major awards on the pro and college level in her first year in the WNBA. In addition to league's MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, she also won two ESPYs: Best Female College Athlete and Best Female Athlete.
2009: Diana Taurasi
Lisa Leslie's favorite player, Diana Taurasi, is expected to win this year's award. She led her team, the Phoenix Mercury, to the best record in the league this year. She won the WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2004.