“Original Three” Reunited Before 20th WNBA Draft

On April 24, 1996, Lisa Lesie, Rebecca Lobo and Sheryl Swoopes attended a press conference to announce the creation of the WNBA as the first three players signed to play in the league.

On Wednesday in Bristol, Conn., almost exactly 20 years later, they were reunited prior to the league’s 20th annual Draft.

The “Original Three” re-created the iconic image taken after the ’96 announcement.

They had next! #WNBA20

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They also sat down with NBA Entertainment to share their WNBA memories and reflect on how far the league has come.

Finally, they were greeted with a rousing ovation from the 12 players attending Draft Orientation in Bristol on Tuesday and Wednesday before WNBA Draft 2016 on Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. The three addressed the next generation during a panel on Wednesday afternoon.

A lot of talent here at #WDraft16 orientation. #WNBA20

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@bre_stewart30 shares a laugh with WNBA legends, @s_swoopes22 and Rebecca Lobo. #WDraft16

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Leslie went on to become an eight-time All-Star, three-time MVP and two-time champion, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this past September.

Lobo, who won the first of Geno Auriemma’s now 11 national championships (the latest featuring three of the projected top picks in Thursday’s Draft), became an All-Star with the New York Liberty. She will serve as an analyst on Thursday night’s ESPN2 and ESPNU broadcast of the Draft.

Swoopes, a six-time All-Star, four-time champ and three-time MVP, was elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the legendary Class of 2016 on April 4. She has served as head women’s basketball coach at Loyola University Chicago since 2013.