Who are the best WNBA players of all time?

·4 min read

Bird, Fowles among best WNBA players of all time originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Over the decades, the WNBA has seen some remarkable talent across the country.

Since the league was founded in 1996, the women’s game has significantly evolved and expanded.

The completion of the 2022 WNBA season will mark the end of two iconic players’ careers: Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx. The two legends are set to face off on Friday, Aug. 12.

Ahead of the matchup, let’s take a look at the greatest WNBA players of all time:

Sue Bird

Current team: Seattle Storm | Position: Forward | Career: 2002-2016

Sue Bird's decorated career is coming to a close after the 2022 WNBA season.

Considered one of the greatest players in history, the 41-year-old is the only WNBA player to win titles in three separate decades. She is also the all-time assists leader with 3,161 and sits in third place for assists per game with 5.6.

Bird has won four WNBA championships  (2004, 2010, 2018, 2020) and was named an All-Star 13 times. She was also USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 2021.

Bird became the WNBA's leader in career wins with 324 in June.

Sylvia Fowles

Current team: Minnesota Lynx | Position: Center | Career: 2008-2022

Sylvia Fowles set the WNBA record for most career double-doubles in 2019 and continues to add to her total with eight this season alone. 

The two-time WNBA champion also owns the records for most career rebounds (3,974) and single-season rebounds (404). She also has the highest career field goal percentage at 60%.

The 36-year-old announced the 2022 season will mark the end of her career.

Diana Taurasi

Current team: Pheonix Mercury | Position: Guard | Career: 2004-present

Diana Taurasi is one of the most consistent offensive players in the game.

The 40-year-old is a three-time WNBA champion (2007, 2009, 2014) and holds the record for the highest single-season scoring average at 25.3 points per game in the 2006 season.

Tamika Catchings

Team: Indiana Fever | Position: Forward | Career: 2002-2016

Before Tamika Catchings retired in 2016, she had a very strong all-around game.

She is the only player in the WNBA to finish a season in the top 10 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, which she did twice.

The 43-year-old became a WNBA champion in 2012 and won Finals MVP that year.

Maya Moore

Current team: Minnesota Lynx | Position: Forward | Career: 2011-present

Maya Moore has had an illustrious career thus far. She is a four-time WNBA champion (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017) and was named Finals MVP in 2013. 

The 33-year-old went on sabbatical in 2019 to focus on reform in the American justice system.

Lisa Leslie

Team: Los Angeles Sparks | Position: Center | Career: 1997-2009

Lisa Leslie is a two-time WNBA champion (2001, 2002) and won Finals MVP both of those years. Leslie is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist.

The 50-year-old was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

Tina Thompson

Team: Houston Comets, Los Angeles Sparks, Seatle Storm | Position: Forward | Career: 1997-2013

Tina Thompson, a four-time WNBA champion, was one of the most difficult players to defend as she was very strong and physical. 

The 47-year-old was the WNBA's all-time leading scorer until 2017, and as of 2019, she ranks second in WNBA history behind Taurasi.

Lauren Jackson

Team: Seattle Storm | Position: Forward | Career: 2001-2012

Lauren Jackson is one of the top WNBA players when it comes to playing games, minutes played, field goals, three-point shots, and turnover percentage.

The 41-year-old is a two-time WNBA champion (2004, 2010)

Jackson was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Sheryl Swoopes

Teams: Tulsa Shock, Seattle Storm, Houston Comets | Position: Guard | Career: 1997-2011

Sheryl Swoopes was the first player to be signed in the WNBA.

The 51-year-old was one of the best defensive players, becoming the first player in WNBA and NBA history to win three MVP awards and three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

The four-time WNBA champion was inducted into the  Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

Cynthia Cooper

Team: Houston Comets | Position: Guard | Career: 1997-2003

Cynthia Cooper is one of the greatest scorers in the WNBA.

The 59-year-old won the first ever MVP, finals MVP, and championship in WNBA history in 1997 and holds the record for most Finals MVPs with four.

Cooper was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Candace Parker 

Team: Chicago Sky | Position: Forward | Career: 2008-present

Candace Parker is a two-time WNBA champion (2016, 2021) and was voted Finals MVP in 2016.

The 36-year-old was the first player to win the Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player awards in the same season (2008).

In June 2008, she also became the second player to dunk in a WNBA game.