A Decade of Diana: No. 6

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: March 7, 2013

In celebration of Diana Taurasi being named as the X-Factor’s Favorite Mercury Player of All-Time, and coinciding with the superstar entering her 10th year with the Mercury in 2013, PhoenixMercury.com has launched a special tribute series entitled, “A Decade of Diana.” Every Thursday starting Feb. 7 for 10 weeks, we’ll relive Taurasi’s 10 best moments with the team since her arrival in 2004.


Taurasi Moment No. 6: The Franchise Leader

“There is a fire in me that wants to be better and accomplish everything I thought would be impossible.”

Diana Taurasi is the Phoenix Mercury’s all-time franchise leader in 16 categories.

16!

They are: seasons, games played, minutes played, points scored, scoring average, field goals made, field goal attempts, 3-pointers, 3-point attempts, free throws made, free throw attempts, rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, blocks.

As you can see, they're not just offensive milestones like points or field goals, but also rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

Amazingly, in addition to her accomplishments on the Phoenix Mercury, during her span with the team since 2004, Taurasi has either won a championship or a medal everywhere she’s played (WNBA, overseas, Olympics, etc.), in every single year except for 2005 (and even prior to her arrival on the Mercury during her time at UConn).

While it’s easy to attribute Taurasi’s unrivaled achievements (such as being the all-time franchise leader in 16 categories) to her incomparable ability as a basketball player, it involves so much more than that.

Namely, leadership.

To do what Taurasi has done, leadership is mandatory – and she is the personification of that term. Nevertheless, and maybe it goes without saying, but if Taurasi wasn’t a leader, there’s no way she would’ve had the opportunity to attain the aforementioned franchise records. The reason why this is so significant is that this type of leadership just isn’t often seen in sports, nay, society today.

True leadership is frequently taken for granted. The age old adage, “you don’t miss your water ‘til the well runs dry” comes to mind.

When we outline what a leader is, we’re talking about someone who consciously, yet, naturally inspires, motivates and solidifies a collective vision for a group of people. Hence, by definition, one has to spread positivity. Indeed, Diana Taurasi is the most cheerful and optimistic person you’ll ever meet. That attitude is infectious to teammates (as evidenced by their passionate play with Taurasi throughout multiple continents) and fans (who have always adored Taurasi for her character).

Being a leader also means that people look to you for help when there is an issue. For every problem on or off the court, Taurasi has a solution-focused idea. Any negativity that is brought forth is counteracted by positivity that forces the group to see the potential for changing these problems.

ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas once theorized that “tough” players (also known as leaders) are “hard to play against, and easy to play with.” Rather, they make their team better and make things increasingly difficult on the opposing team. They do the little things like look their teammates in the eye, never give up, always move on to the next play, and make every game they compete in an important one.

In Taurasi’s case, she goes above and beyond that. She’ll always stop to sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan, thank the arena workers while passing by them in the hallways, and shoulder the blame even when it isn’t her fault.

That narrative, perhaps even more so than the records she’s set for the Mercury, is what should define Diana Taurasi as a “franchise leader.”

A Decade of Diana

  • No. 10: July 27, 2007
  • No. 9: August 1, 2010
  • No. 8: September 11, 2011
  • No. 7: July 23, 2011
  • Visit PhoenixMercury.com on Thursday, March 14 for the No. 5 moment in “A Decade of Diana.”