The concept of Six Degrees of Separation states that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else in the world by a chain of no more than six acquaintances. This theory was the basis for the popular 1990s game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where the actor could be linked to any other actor through their film roles.
The Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm have so many connections that they don’t even need six degrees; in many cases they don’t need any at all. When the Mercury and Storm open their first round playoff series on Friday night, it will be a reunion on many levels as former college teammates, WNBA teammates, national team teammates and overseas teammates will meet at Key Arena.
Let’s start with the All-Stars – Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Cappie Pondexter and Seattle’s Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson. The All-Star connection is too easy, so we’ll connect them in few more ways.
Taurasi and Bird were teammates at the University of Connecticut; Taurasi, Bird and Jackson just won the EuroLeague championship as teammates for Spartak Moscow; and Taurasi, Bird and Pondexter are all teammates on the United States Senior National Team (coached by Seattle’s Anne Donovan by the way).
Speaking of national teams, Jackson, Taylor and Phoenix’s Belinda Snell are all members of the Australian National Team, the Opals. And just so the players don't start to miss each other after this series, Team USA and the Opals will play two exhibition games on Sept. 16 and 19, just days after the WNBA Finals.
Do you want more evidence? Take a look at the chart below and the key that follows for all of the Mercury-Storm connections.
Blue Arrows: Connecticut Huskies
Yellow Arrows: Russia
Green Arrows: Australia
Red Arrows: United States
Gray Arrow: Tulane Green Wave
Brown Arrow: Penn State Nittany Lions
Orange Arrow: Childhood, Phoenix Mercury
Purple Arrow: Connecticut Sun
Pink Arrow: Cleveland Rockers