When it comes to basketball goats and WNBA greatness, look no further than Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and Storm’s Sue Bird. Between the two of them, they have a combined seven WNBA titles, 22 All-Star selections, the league’s all-time assists leader and the WNBA’s all-time scoring leader.
However, when Bird and Taurasi take the floor for their respective teams, like they did on Saturday in an early season matchup, it is all business.
With the 4:37 remaining in the fourth quarter of a tightly-contested game between Phoenix and Seattle, Bird was guarding Taurasi when the two were locked in on a jump ball scenario. Moments after Bird made her case that it should not have been a jump ball situation, the two briefly went back-and-forth in debate about whose arm was entangled between each other in efforts to get possession on the play.
It was a moment that WNBA fans will cherish because there will not be many more taking place going forward. Bird, who returned for her 19th season, is expected to retire after this season. Meanwhile, Taurasi recently told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss in April that she plans on playing a little while longer, saying fans “won’t see her anymore” when she’s done playing.
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“When I’m done playing, I’m just going to stop playing. I’m not going to ease my way out,” Taurasi told ESPN. “I want to play, and when I suck, I won’t play. Trust me, I’ll be in those workouts in the winter and be like, ‘Hmm, that’s it.’ ”
Taurasi also plans to play in the Paris Olympics in the summer of 2024 based on her postgame comment after the U.S. women’s basketball team defeated Japan, 90-75, to earn its seventh consecutive gold medal in 2021.
Bird and Taurasi stand alone with five Olympic gold medals, the first basketball players ever to accomplish that milestone. As the 2022 season unfolds, let’s hope that it is one that provides epic battles between two friends and two of the most competitive players and game changers in WNBA history.
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