By Mike Patton
NABJ Black News & Views
- Cynthia Cooper-Dykes (Houston Comets 1997-2000, 2003) Imagine having four championships, two MVPs, four Finals MVPs, being a three-time scoring champion and four-time WNBA First Team member. Now imagine doing all that in only five years in the WNBA after joining the league at 34 years old. Cooper-Dykes was simply amazing and a dominant force in the WNBA during her time with the Comets. Not one person could say they were better during her time in the WNBA.
- Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever 2002-2016) Catchings could do it all on the court. Gave you buckets, rebounds, assists and steals while playing her entire career for the Fever. She has one Finals MVP, one MVP and one WNBA title to her name, but she also is the only person in WNBA history that ranks in the top 10 steals, points rebounds and assists to go along with being a five-time Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time First Team All-WNBA player.
- Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets 1997-2007, Seattle Storm 2008, Tulsa Shock 2011) Swoopes was incredible on the offensive side of the court, as evidenced by her two scoring champions. While the offense is what some will talk about (she had a sweet jump shot), Swoopes was just as deadly on the defensive end of the court. She could lock down the best player and make their night a long one. She won three WNBA Defensive Player of the Year awards because of it.
- Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx 2011-2018) In her eight years, Maya was dominant. The Lynx would go on to win four titles with her as a part of the team, leading them in scoring. As much as she gave offensively, she certainly was good for them on the defensive end, making two all-defensive teams to go along with five-time All-WNBA First Team nods, an MVP Award and a Finals MVP Award. She was a standard of excellence.
- Lisa Leslie (LA Sparks 1997-2009) Being the first woman to dunk in the WNBA may be her most popular claim to fame, but she was way more than that to the WNBA. Leslie was a force on the court, garnering three MVPs, two Finals MVP and two championships along the way in her illustrious career. Add in two Defensive Player of the Year awards, eight times making the All-WNBA first team and three times making the WNBA All-Defensive team and it’s easy to see why she was one of the greatest players in WNBA history.
- Candace Parker (LA Sparks 2008-2020, Chicago Sky 2021-Present) Coming out of the University of Tennessee, people couldn’t wait to see how Parker played against the best talent in the world. With one title, two MVP awards, a Finals MVP award, along with making the All-WNBA First Team six times and being a two-time All-Defensive team representative, Parker has left her mark on the WNBA and is still doing so in Chicago with her versatility and ability on the court.
- Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky 2008-2014, Minnesota Lynx 2015-Present) Fowles has been a double-double machine ever since she entered the WNBA (leader in double doubles in WNBA history). With two titles, one MVP, two Finals MVP Awards and three Defensive Player of the Year awards, she has left her mark on the game. Add in three times making the All-WNBA first team and nine times making the All-Defensive team and it’s easy to see why she is one of the WNBA greats.
- Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs 1999-2007, Seattle Storm 2008, Indiana Fever 2009) Yolanda Griffith was a player no one saw coming. She went the junior college and Division II route instead of going to Iowa because she was pregnant with her daughter, but when she got to the WNBA, she exploded on the scene. Griffith was the driving force behind leading the now-defunct Monarchs to a title while winning a MVP and a Defensive Player of the Year Award in that same season (1999). She also made the All-WNBA First Team twice along with making the all-defensive team twice.
- Tina Thompson (Houston Comets 1997-2008, Los Angeles Sparks 2009-2011, Seattle Storm 2012-2013) Thompson was mostly known as the other dominant member of the Houston Comets during their title runs. She wasn’t the first option or even the second, but she left an imprint on the game. She won four championships in Houston along with being second all-time in scoring in the WNBA along with making the WNBA First Team three times.
- Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx 2006-2019, LA Sparks 2020) Augustus was a part of that fantastic run of teams in Minnesota and was there for all four titles along with Moore. Augustus also won a Finals MVP during that run with the Lynx. She also made All-WNBA First Team once and is currently sitting at 10th all time in scoring in the WNBA. Her smooth jump shot was something that could always be counted on.
Mike Patton is a freelance sports writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. He has covered sports for 10 years for various organizations and publications. He also is the host/producer of the Touring The AFC South podcast.