Arizona has featured many great athletes and Hall of Famers in the sports world such as Randy Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kurt Warner, but very few have spent over a decade impacting Valley sports.
Diana Taurasi’s newest contract solidifies her spot on the Arizona sports Mount Rushmore. She can join the faces of Shane Doan (20 years), Larry Fitzgerald (13 years) and Steve Nash (10 years) as the biggest and most impactful athletes in the desert. And of course, Jerry Colangelo would be known as the architect of the monument.
After being drafted first overall, Taurasi made her presence known in her rookie debut putting up 26 points in a win against the Seattle Storm. She finished the season as the Rookie of the Year and was named to her first All-WNBA First Team.
In just her fourth season in the league, Taurasi led the Phoenix Mercury to their first WNBA Championship in 2007.
Two years later she was awarded MVP of the league and became the first and only Arizona athlete to receive both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in their local career. She is also the only player to ever pair either of those awards with a championship.
In 2014 she led the Mercury to a WNBA-best 29 regular season wins on her way to receiving her third ring in eight years. She was named the 2009 and 2014 Finals MVP.
Taurasi enters her 13th season with the Mercury as one of the most decorated players in WNBA history. She is a seven time All-Star (2005-07, 2009, 2011, 2013-14) and a nine time All-WNBA First Team recipient (2004, 2006-11, 2013-14). She is a five time scoring champion (2006, 2008-11) and was the 2014 assist leader.
DT holds the record for most points in a season with 714 in 2006 and is just 174 points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer in the WNBA history. Her 19.88 career points per game is the third highest ever.
When it comes to shooting the three ball, no one does it better. The top three three-point shooting seasons belong to her, including her setting the record of 121 made in 2006. She is tied for the most three-pointers in a game (8), a half (6) and in a quarter (5). Last season she broke Becky Hammon’s record for most career playoff threes with 113 and is just five away from tying the all-time career threes made.
At 34 years old, this contract just about guarantees that she will finish her career where it started, in Phoenix, AZ. Her name, her accomplishments and her legacy will put her down as one of the greatest athletes to ever wear a jersey in the Valley.