Diana Taurasi: All-Time Favorite Mercury
By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: Feb. 7, 2013
In celebration of Diana Taurasi being named as the X-Factor’sFavorite 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.
Diana Taurasi is loyal.
It’s just in her blood – and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Hours before the 2004 WNBA Draft was scheduled to begin, nearly 500 fans lined up outside US Airways Center to watch the Phoenix Mercury draft three-time NCAA champion and two-time Naismith Player of the Year, Diana Taurasi (the first No. 1 pick for any professional Phoenix sports team).
Taurasi was viewed as a savior (for lack of a better term) of the franchise and as someone expected to raise awareness for the league as a whole. And if that wasn’t enough pressure, she was already being compared to some of the greatest players of all-time before playing a single minute in the WNBA.
It’s been somewhat of a roller coaster ride as Taurasi enters her 10th season with the club, but she has, in a sense, brought unprecedented fame to Phoenix in the form of two WNBA Championships, a 2009 WNBA MVP award, seven All-WNBA First Teams, and five All-Star appearances.
Most importantly, throughout all the hype, all the talk, and all the excitement she has continually demonstrated her steadfast devotion to making the Phoenix Mercury the pinnacle franchise of the league.
Diana Taurasi is a prototype.
One rival WNBA superstar (who is also a friend of Diana’s, but will remain unnamed) said it best.
“If you could create the perfect WNBA player, where do you start?” I asked.
“Probably Diana [Taurasi’s] fearlessness,” she quickly responded.
“Whose shooting form do you take?”
“Diana Taurasi’s,” she said, without hesitation.
“Diana’s,” she said with a chuckle. I feel like she was beginning to sense a theme here.
“Clutch factor or reliability in big games?”
“Diana’s,” she said. “I sound like a broken record.”
“Pound for pound,” she continued. “Diana’s.”
“[laughs] Obviously, Diana’s.”
Diana Taurasi is humble.
In the truest sense of the word.
Why? Because she’s never uttered the phrase, “I’m a humble person.”
As soon as someone thinks they’re humble, they aren’t any more. For Taurasi, being modest isn’t an act; she knows she’s a great basketball player but she doesn’t feel the need to broadcast it.
That, my friends, is unpretentious confidence.
Humility is accepting blame even when it isn’t truthfully your fault and deflecting credit when you actually deserve it.
If that doesn’t describe Diana Taurasi, I’m not sure what does.
Diana Taurasi is motivated.
At all times.
It’s an insatiable thirst. Some people are just built that way. For Diana, she’ll never stop competing. I can see her in a nursing home at 80-years-old, challenging her fellow guests to a friendly game of indoor H.O.R.S.E.
Sure, she’s won championships, MVP’s and scoring titles all over the world, but for her, the desire to win is an incurable condition.
That’s how she stays driven.
Diana Taurasi is compassionate.
Ask anyone who knows her. On the court, she’s one of the fiercest, colorful competitors the sport has ever seen.
Off it, she’s giving. Kind. Generous.
And she doesn’t want recognition for her altruism. In fact, she actively avoids it. While there are some that endlessly self-promote their philanthropy and selflessness any chance they get, Taurasi often downplays individual fame.
The quintessential teammate.
Diana Taurasi is a Mercury.
If the team isn’t winning, she’s not happy even if she scores 30 points.
Like the Mercury, she’s always working to get better. If she spends more than a day or two out of the gym, she feels an overwhelming sense of guilt and laziness. After all, if she’s not in the gym, someone else is.
In many ways, she is a physical manifestation of what the organization stands for – passion, toughness, empowerment and honor. The Mercury and Taurasi have always had the charisma and hype that is consistent with the play on the court.
A lot of times, you don’t necessarily get both.
But when you do? Magic happens.
And there’s been no shortage of magic in the Valley of the Sun since Diana Taurasi’s arrival in 2004.
All-Time Favorite Mercury