Lisa Leslie, Sue Bird Headline WNBA's List of 25 Greatest Players in League History

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 5, 2021

EVERETT, WA - SEPTEMBER 2: Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm looks on during the game against the New York Liberty on September 2, 2021 at the Angel of the Winds Arena, in Everett, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

The WNBA celebrated its 25th anniversary Sunday by announcing The W25, a list of the 25 best players in league history.

Many of the league's foundational players, including Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Lisa Leslie, highlight a list that includes 10 active players and 15 retired players:


🥁 IT’S OFFICIAL 🥁<br><br>Here are your <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WNBA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WNBA</a> 25 greatest players of all time!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CountIt?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CountIt</a> <a href="https://t.co/kf1GGUfXMS">pic.twitter.com/kf1GGUfXMS</a>

Current Players

  • Sue Bird 
  • Tina Charles
  • Elena Delle Donne
  • Sylvia Fowles
  • Brittney Griner
  • Angel McCoughtry
  • Nneka Ogwumike
  • Candace Parker
  • Breanna Stewart 
  • Diana Taurasi

Retired Players

  • Seimone Augustus
  • Swin Cash
  • Tamika Catchings
  • Cynthia Cooper
  • Yolanda Griffith
  • Becky Hammon
  • Lauren Jackson
  • Lisa Leslie
  • Maya Moore
  • Ticha Penicheiro 
  • Cappie Pondexter
  • Katie Smith
  • Sheryl Swoopes
  • Tina Thompson
  • Lindsay Whalen

The list was chosen "based on factors such as on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service, and contributions to team success."

The players needed to meet four of seven requirements and be a member of a team for two or more seasons.

The seven criteria are as follows:

  • Major individual award winner
  • Championship winner
  • Selected to All-WNBA First Team or All-WNBA Second Team
  • Selected to WNBA All-Defensive First Team or WNBA All-Defensive Second Team
  • All-Star selection
  • A top-40 player in at least one major statistical category
  • Recipient of the Community Assist Award

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert commented on the announcement:

"Throughout this season, the WNBA and our fans are celebrating the impact the WNBA has made on sports and society over a quarter of a century. I can think of no better way to honor those responsible for that impact than by unveiling the members of this prestigious group, The W25. These athletes have played the game at the highest level on the court—they are scorers and rebounders, assist makers and defensive stoppers, leaders and mentors. In the community, they have powerful voices, individually and collectively, speaking out on important issues in our society. Together, they have transformed the way the game is played, changed the way athletes are viewed, become incredible role models, and inspired generations of young, diverse athletes."

The honors are not done, as it is now up to the fans to decide who the greatest player of all time is in the Vote for the GOAT campaign. Fans can vote starting Sunday by using the #WNBAGoatVote on Twitter or on WNBA.com or the league's app.

The 25 players recognized Sunday have combined for 53 WNBA titles and 167 All-Star selections.

This comes before the NBA celebrates its 75th season in 2021-22 by announcing the 75 greatest players in league history.