WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie to Be Honored with Statue Outside Staples Center

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2019

FILE - This Aug. 10, 2010, file photo shows retired Los Angeles Sparks basketball player Lisa Leslie waving to the crowd during a ceremony to retire her jersey at halftime of a WNBA basketball game between the Indiana Fever and the Sparks in Los Angeles. Lisa Leslie was selected to the Naismith Hall of Fame, Monday, April 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

WNBA legend Lisa Leslie will reportedly be the first female athlete honored with a statue outside of Staples Center.

Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times reported the news, noting the Los Angeles Sparks and Anschutz Entertainment Group still have to iron out the specific date but agreed Leslie will be the 11th statue outside of the famed building.

Leslie's statue will also be the first of a WNBA player outside of a team's home arena.

Leslie is one of the greatest players in WNBA history and was one of the stars who ushered in the league.

She went to the Sparks in the WNBA's inaugural draft in 1997 and played her entire career with the team through the 2009 campaign. She won three league MVPs, two championships, four Olympic gold medals and three All-Star Game MVPs during her iconic career.

Leslie, who was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game, was also named to eight All-Star teams and 12 All-WNBA teams, including eight first-team selections.

She averaged 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game during her career and held the league record for points and rebounds at the time of her retirement.

Markazi wrote a column advocating for Leslie to have a statue outside of Staples Center and pointed out she "isn't just one of the greatest WNBA players of all time, she is one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Southern California."

In addition to her WNBA achievements, she once scored 101 points in a half during a game at Inglewood Morningside High and was named first-team all-conference in each of her four seasons at USC.

She will now be forever memorialized alongside statues of Los Angeles legends such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Wayne Gretzky.