A Quick, Powerful Story About Diana Taurasi

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com

Ironically, she’d kill me if she knew I was writing this.

But it’s simply too good not to share, and is a wonderful example of the type of person Diana Taurasi is.

I don’t remember the exact date, but it wasn’t long after she arrived in Phoenix for the 2012 season. It was a fairly normal day and Taurasi was the first player on the Phoenix Mercury practice court.

Nothing unusual here as that’s normally the case.

The gym (and the entire arena for that matter) was deathly quiet.

Almost eerily so.

I popped in to see if any players were on the court yet. A janitor was diligently sweeping the hardwood before practice formally started. He’d go up and down the floor making sure scuff marks were cleaned up along with any miscellaneous dry or wet spots. Even in the 10 seconds I saw, it was obvious he cared about (and took pride in) what he was doing.

Taurasi must have seen that, too.

Right as I was about to leave, I saw her grab a basketball and head over to the janitor.

"Hey, man,” said Taurasi, putting her arm around the gentleman. “I just want you to know I appreciate all the work you do. Thanks for doing it. Doesn’t go unnoticed."

They say a smile is worth a thousand words? Well, the look on the janitor’s face was worth about a billion.

Perfect. What a perfect moment. And this is just one of dozens I’ve observed over the years.

I never told anyone about it (until now, that is). Not Diana, not any of the Mercury staff.

No one.

In an age where many professional athletes are defined by money, notoriety and fame, Taurasi continues to break the mold.