WNBA Announces All-Decade Team

— Team Collectively Boasts 17 WNBA Championships and 16 Olympic Gold Medals —

New York, June 13, 2006 – As part of a season-long celebration of the WNBA’s 10th Anniversary, the league today named its All-Decade Team, comprised of the 10 best and most influential players from its first 10 years of play.

Chosen from among 30 nominees by fans, a panel of national and WNBA-market media and the league’s current players and coaches, the WNBA All-Decade Team honors the 10 players who have contributed the most to the overall success of the WNBA. Consideration was given to on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service, as well as to their contribution to team success and the growth of women’s basketball. The list of 30 nominees whose names graced the ballot was developed by a blue-ribbon panel of national media and basketball representatives.

“The All-Decade Team represents the very best in women’s professional basketball in the WNBA and in the world,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “They represent all that is right with the WNBA and sports. The group consists of not only tremendous athletes who have reached extraordinary heights on the court, but of terrific women who give unselfishly of their time and effort in the community. They are multi-faceted role models, believers, dreamers, achievers, coaches, teachers, leaders and champions.”

The All-Decade Team will be brought together for the first time and formally honored at the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game set to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on July 12. The game will be televised live on ESPN at 7:30 ET.

“The voting for the All-Decade Team really exceeded our expectations,” added Renee Brown, the WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations. “Throughout the voting process, fans continuously reached out to us with suggestions and their selections and really demonstrated a tremendous amount of interest in the All-Decade Team. It illustrated how talented and special our players are to their fans and how they have had such a positive impact on so many people.”

Below, listed in alphabetical order, is a list of the 10 players named to the WNBA All-Decade Team along with five players who received Honorable Mention.

WNBA All-Decade Team

Name WNBA Team (Current/Last Team) Previous Team(s)
Sue Bird Seattle Storm (2002-Current)
Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever (2001-Current)
Cynthia Cooper* Houston Comets (1997-2000, 2003)
Yolanda Griffith Sacramento Monarchs (1999-Current)
Lauren Jackson Seattle Storm (2001-Current)
Lisa Leslie Los Angeles Sparks (1997-Current)
Katie Smith Detroit Shock (2005-Current) Minnesota Lynx (1999-2005)
Dawn Staley Houston Comets (2005-Current) Charlotte Sting (1999-2005)
Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets (1997-Current)
Tina Thompson Houston Comets (1997-Current)


Honorable Mention

Name WNBA Team (Current/Last Team) Previous Team(s)
Ruthie Bolton* Sacramento Monarchs (1997-2004)
Chamique Holdsclaw Los Angeles Sparks (2005-Current) Washington Mystics (1999-2004)
Ticha Penicheiro Sacramento Monarchs (1998-Current)
Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury (2004-Current)
Teresa Weatherspoon* Los Angeles Sparks (2004) New York Liberty (1997-2003)


WNBA All-Decade Team Facts & Figures

Of the 10 members selected to the All-Decade team…

  • All 10 have earned Olympic medals (Jackson, silver with Australia; the rest gold for USA Basketball)
  • 8 won Gold Medals with the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 (all but Jackson and the retired Cooper)
  • 7 have played on a WNBA Championship Team (Swoopes, Cooper and Thompson with Houston in 1997-2000, Leslie with Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002, Bird and Jackson with Seattle in 2004 and Griffith with Sacramento in 2005)
  • 4 are current or former members of the Houston Comets (Cooper, Staley, Swoopes and Thompson)
  • 3 have won a WNBA championship, an NCAA title and a gold medal (Bird, Cooper and Swoopes)
  • 3 are former #1 overall WNBA Draft picks (Jackson ’01, Bird ’02, and Thompson ’97)
  • 3 are original members of the WNBA still active as players in the league (Leslie, Swoopes and Thompson, all of whom remain with their original team)
  • 3 played collegiate ball at Southern California (Cooper, Leslie and Thompson)
  • 3 are former members of the American Basketball League (Griffith, Smith and Staley)
  • 2 are currently head basketball coaches of women’s collegiate programs (Cooper – Prairie View A&M and Staley – Temple University)
  • 1 is the daughter of a former NBA player (Catchings – father Harvey)
  • 1 was the first player ever to sign with the WNBA (Swoopes, October 23, 1996)

Colleges represented by the 10 members of the All-Decade Team: Southern California (Cooper, Leslie and Thompson), Connecticut (Bird), Florida Atlantic (Griffith), Ohio State (Smith), Texas Tech (Swoopes), Virginia (Staley).