5 Best WNBA Players of All Time


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Ranking the best Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players of all time is fun but a difficult thing to do. They’ve written records, won titles and worked to elevate the league’s visibility. The league has existed since 1977 and has improved in different aspects, including media coverage, fan base, financial compensation and competitiveness. 

During this period, it has produced household names that aspiring basketballers admire. We’ll list the best WNBA players of all time.

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Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

spotcovery-Cynthia Cooper is at the center talking to players-Best WNBA players of all time
Cynthia Cooper is at the center talking to players. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

Cooper-Dyke is considered to be one of the best WNBA players of all time. She represented her schools, Locke High School and the University of South Carolina. After a career in Spain and Italy, she joined the WNBA in 1997 as part of the Houston Comets. 

In all her four seasons, Cooper won the WNBA Championship and was the MVP in all four finals. The point guard is still the only player in the league to achieve this feat.  She was part of the All-Star Team thrice and four times the WNBA Finals MVP.

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Lisa Leslie

spotcovery-Lisa Leslie speaks at the 2015 School Choice Week rally at the Arizona State Capitol Building-Best WNBA players of all time
Lisa Leslie speaks at the 2015 School Choice Week rally at the Arizona State Capitol Building. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-2.0

Leslie followed in the footsteps of her father and became a basketballer. She played for her schools and was one of the best in high school. She joined the University of South Carolina (USC) and was named to the Pac-10 team throughout college. 

Additionally, she won the Pac Rookie of the Year award and later the Naismith College Player of the Year award. In 1997, the Los Angeles Sparks drafted her into the WNBA, and it’s the only team she played for in her career. She won the WNBA twice and was the finals MVP. She made it into the: 

  • WNBA MVP thrice. 
  • WNBA All-Star eight times.
  • All-WNBA First Team eight times.
  • WNBA All-Star Games MVP thrice. 
  • WNBA Defensive Player of the Year twice.

Leslie is a four-time Olympic champion and has two gold medals from the World Championship.

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Sheryl Swoopes

spotcovery-Sheryl Swoopes-Best WNBA players of all time
Sheryl Swoopes. Source: Wikimedia licensed by  CC-BY-SA-4.0

Swoopes was the first player to be signed by the WNBA in 1997 when she joined the Houston Comets. During her time with the team, she won four WNBA titles between 1997 and 2000. Swoopes was the MVP thrice. Other achievements include:

  • Honda Sports Awards.
  • WNBA All-Star six times.
  • WNBA All-Star Games MVP.
  • Five times All-WNBA First Team.
  • WNBA Scoring Champions twice.
  • Three time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

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Sylvia Fowles

Sylvia Fowles reflects on her journey. Video Credit: Bleacher Report

Fowles is a name that must be in any list of the best WNBA players of all time. The Chicago Sky drafted her into the WNBA in 2008 as a first-round, second overall pick. In her debut season, Fowles made it into the WNBA All-Rookie Team. 

She’s a two-time WNBA champion, and in both years, 2015 and 2017, she was also the Finals MVP. In 2017, the center was the league’s MVP. Fowles also made into the:

  • WNBA All-Star eight times.
  • All-WNBA First Team thrice.
  • Twice WNBA Blocks Leader.
  • WNBA Defensive Player of the Year four times.
  • Thrice the WNBA Rebounding Champion.

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Tamika Catchings

Tamika gave a speech at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Video Credit:

Tamika Catchings is one of the best WNBA players of all time. She spent 15 years in the WNBA (2001 to 2016), and only played for the Indiana Fever. The team drafted her in 2001 from the University of Tennessee, where she excelled in the game. 

Catchings was the Naismith College Player of the Year and won the Championship with her college team.

In her first season in the WNBA, the small forward was the WNBA Rookie of the Year. Catchings won the WNBA in 2012 and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Other achievements she made include: 

  • All-Star team 10 times. 
  • Defensive player of the year five times.
  • Seven into the All-WNBA First Team. 

The WNBA continues to spark interest around the world. These women played a big part in making this happen through outstanding accomplishments. Which of these WNBA players is your all-time favorite?

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