- Diana Taurasi returns to the Phoenix Mercury for her seventeenth WNBA season.
- Regardless of turning 38 final season, the league legend stated she by no means thought-about retiring.
- She saved an “open thoughts” about signing with one other workforce, however she “all the time got here again to Phoenix”.
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Diana Taurasi’s seventeenth yr within the WNBA is lucky.
And although she’ll flip 39 this summer season, the league’s all-time prime scorer has by no means even thought-about stepping away from hardwood throughout her free company this offseason.
“You recognize, I have never thought of retiring in any respect,” Taurasi stated throughout a media name on Tuesday. “Eager about on a regular basis I spent in Phoenix and the reminiscences we constructed, this system we constructed, the tradition – we have accomplished loads in 17 years, and I do not assume we’re accomplished.”
Nobody would have blamed Taurasi had she chosen to give up, particularly given the big variety of accidents which have saved her from enjoying on the pitch in recent times. She missed all however six video games of the 2019 season after having again surgical procedure and later tweaking her hamstrings. And when Taurasi returned, questions turned as as to if she would ever return to famous person standing and even appear like herself on hardwood.
The 2020 WNBA season has given everybody a solution, and it was a convincing sure. In his 19 video games within the Wubble, Taurasi is averaging 18.7 factors per sport on 40.9% taking pictures from the ground and 36.5% taking pictures past the arc for the Phoenix Mercury. She completed the common season within the prime 10 within the league for factors, assists and free throw share and as soon as once more led her Phoenix Mercury to the playoffs.
“The bubble was massive for me in a approach to show to myself that I may nonetheless play at a excessive stage,” Taurasi stated.
However though Taurasi knew she needed to maintain enjoying, she did not all the time know or the twilight of his profession was about to be performed out. She has spent her whole distinguished profession with the Mercury, the workforce that drafted her first complete out of UConn within the 2004 WNBA Draft. The WNBA GOAT has been solely profitable with the franchise, racking up 10 All-WNBA first-team nods, 9 All-Star alternatives, 5 scoring titles, three championship rings, two remaining MVP honors and one MVP award within the 16 seasons since.
But she left the Wubble “with an open thoughts”. However each time she “let my thoughts wander” about dressing for a special workforce in a special metropolis for the remainder of her WNBA enjoying days, “it all the time got here again to Phoenix.”
It quickly grew to become obvious that the all-time chief of the WNBA supposed to return to Phoenix, particularly since she had avoided taking calls with different groups. Even so, Taurasi stated Mercury made a valiant effort to maintain her on their listing.
The management reached out to Taurasi as quickly because the window to make contact with free brokers opened, they usually delivered a compelling pitch for his place within the franchise’s future. The famous person praised her workforce’s dedication to recruiting her though she had already made up her thoughts.
“You did not have to do that as a result of that is the place I need to be,” Taurasi stated. “However they made the hassle to deal with me like I used to be an unrestricted free agent, and I may go anyplace I needed. It informed me they had been very critical about it.”
So on February 1 – the primary day of free company – Taurasi signed a multi-year supermax contract to stick with the franchise. She is going to earn $ 221,450 in 2021 and $ 228,094 in 2022, in line with Rachel Galligan from Winsidr, and compete for extra gear within the metropolis the place she’s already accomplished all of it.
“It means loads to be in a single place,” she says. “After they say my title, I need them to say the Phoenix Mercury and vice versa. I would not have it every other manner.”