On Sunday, the Phoenix Mercury held their 2014 WNBA championship rally at U.S. Airways Center. During that time, the Mercury X-Factor, or the team's season ticket holders got to see the players and coaches enter the arena in a white Hummer limousine (video from Mercury fan Madison Power's YouTube channel):
Power's channel also has videos of Penny Taylor's speech (Part 1 & Part 2), as well as the "Mighty Mercury" song.
During these championship events, players give a quick speech to their fans. And franchise player Diana Taurasi was no different. During her speech, this quote came out:
"The day I got drafted to Phx was the best day of my life......I could've been a Mystic." Diana Taurasi #MercuryRally— Madi Power (@MadiPower) September 14, 2014
One of our resident Mystics fans took exception to it. And perhaps some other Mystics fans will view this as an "F you" at them.
After all, in 2004 the Mystics had the second highest odds in the Draft Lottery. If Washington won the #1 pick that season, they would have drafted Taurasi, and she would have at least started her career in the nation's capital. Then, there's 2013, when Phoenix won the Draft Lottery, while the Mystics struck out.
But this is just a money quote. I wanted to see everything in context first. Sure enough, the whole speech was on video. It is embedded above, also from Powers' YouTube Channel.
So what did Taurasi say? Here it is transcribed below (from the 2:55 to 3:30 marks in the video):
When kids say 2004, that's been a long time. That's been 10 years here in the City of Phoenix.
I came in not knowing much about Phoenix, not knowing much about the community, about the city, about the Mercury. And that was the luckiest day of my life, to be drafted to the City of Phoenix and the Mercury organization.
I could have been a Mystic.
At the time Taurasi gave the zinger, the audience laughed. She smiled, and laughed a little with them. I don't think there was any malicious intent on her part to belittle the Mystics, Monumental Sports, or their fans. Taurasi gave a valid point, which was humorous.
After this controversial moment, Taurasi went on to the meat of her speech, where she talked about how hard it was for the Mercury and herself personally to win this third title. She mentioned that the Minnesota Lynx were the team's biggest roadblock, and defeating them in the 2014 Western Conference Finals was the "best moment of [her] life so far."
From there, Taurasi personally thanked each and every one of her teammates, coaches, front office members, and the fans for helping make the 2014 season the way it was. That's really the main takeaway of the speech. Sure, Taurasi is the Mercury's franchise player. But their 2014 WNBA championship was a team effort, not just an individual one.
TL;dr version: Taurasi gave a very good, heartfelt thank you speech to Mercury fans, specifically the season ticket holders.
Even though some Mystics fans may consider Taurasi's remark a swipe at them, she just stated a fact that things could have been different, not necessarily worse. And for the Mystics, let's just hope that they will be in position to draft a franchise player of their own in the near future. If that player has a good sense of humor, she may very well say, "I could have been on [another team]" during a future championship rally speech, right when you least expect it.