Diana Taurasi long ago sealed her status as one of the best players in the history of women’s basketball. But what keeps adding to her remarkable legacy are off-the-court gestures like what she did recently for a young fan in Rio.
With a simple act of kindness, the three-time WNBA champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist made a girl’s dream come true. The fan, Fracielle Fernanda Almeida, wrote an open letter about her interaction with Taurasi on Bala na Cesta, which USA Basketball then translated into English.
Almeida grew up watching Taurasi and credits the star for inspiring her to play the game. With Team USA in Brazil for the Olympics, Almeida jumped at the opportunity to watch her hero suit up in the tournament semifinals against France.
“I tried to take a picture with her. I could not get one because the place was far from empty, and Taurasi had to go to the locker room. But I did not leave empty-handed,” Almeida wrote. “Diana threw her towel to the crowd, and guess what? I got it. Wonderful! I had a towel from my idol, I was very happy and went home in peace.”
But Almeida wasn’t satisfied. She returned to the arena a few days later for the gold-medal game. This time, however, she came equipped with a poster that read, “Taurasi, I play basketball because of you. Please take a picture with me.”
After the USA capped its tournament with a victory over Spain, Taurasi spotted Almeida in the stands and approached her with a smile.
“My heart almost came out of my mouth. I was not believing,” Almeida wrote. “When she stopped in front of me she read the poster, thanked me and gave me a hug. Then we took the picture and to my surprise she told me one of the things I will never forget in my whole life, ‘Now hold the medal yourself.’ At that time, I did not know what to think. I began to shake my body. It was beautiful, a day I will never forget.”
Props to Taurasi for helping create a one-of-a-kind memory. That’s why she’s the greatest.