In honour of the WNBA’s 20th season, the league has unveiled its 20@20 list of the greatest and most influential 20 players in its history.
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 21, 2016
LJ would be #1 if the list was ranked
Lauren Jackson - the messiah of Australian basketball, one of the greatest athletes the country has ever produced and our preferred Prime Minister - was rightly nestled into the list that also includes Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes.
LJ’s footprint on the league is undeniable. Drafted at number one by Seattle Storm in the 2001 draft, Jackson became captain of the team in just her second year in the league.
She broke the mould for a forward/centre, able to cause damage not just off the dribble and rebound, but from the perimeter - she’s third on the list of all time field goals.
LJ is a 7 time all-star. She won 3 MVPs. 3 scoring titles. 2 championship titles. A Defensive Player of the Year award. We could seriously go on and on.
While the 20@20 list wasn’t ranked by number, you can bet Jackson would have come in at number 1 if it were.
The Fastbreak blog posted a preview of the announcement, ranking Queen LJ in the top spot.
No Penny Taylor?
While the 20@20 feature a phenomenal group of players, we can’t help but point out that Penny Taylor was absolutely robbed - despite making the shortlist, she’s not in the final 20.
She was drafted into the WNBA the same year as Jackson, by the Cleveland Rockers at number 11, with the pair creating a formidable partnership whenever they appeared together in the green and gold.
When the Rockers dispersed, the Phoenix Mercury used their first selection in the resulting draft on Taylor, and she’s been in integral part of the team since.
Taylor won 3 championships with the Mercury, is a 3 time all star, and is currently captain of the team.
And while we might be a little biased towards Aussie athletes here at Zela, it’s not just Opals fans that have pointed out Taylor’s omission - ESPNW also reckon Taylor deserves to be recognised amongst the greatest.
Veteran WNBA reporter Mechelle Voepel even went so far to give a shout out to all the Australians playing in the US.
“Taylor is also among the group of players - the Australians - who I think deserve special recognition for the sacrifices they made to play in the WNBA,” she writes.
“They are a long, long way from home in the WNBA, and unless they also play in Australia, they are also usually very far from home with their non-WNBA basketball jobs, too. They miss significant family time, along with the wear and tear on their bodies from the amount of traveling.”
Meanwhile, the Fastbreak article not only had Taylor in the list, but ranked her at number 16.