The WNBA thrived in the 2010s because of the everyday, enduring efforts of talented, engaging women’s basketball players. On their own steam, with neither sufficient marketing nor adequate financial investment, the players proved that women’s professional basketball is here to stay. As the decade winds to a close, we reflect on the players who made the biggest impact both on and off the court.
Here are the 10 best WNBA players of the 2010s:
10. Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
Honors, achievements and numbers of note this decade: 2x WNBA champion (2010, 2018), 3x All-WNBA, 5x WNBA All-Star, 5x top-three in assists
Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird nearly book-ended the 2010s with titles. She opened the decade with her second WNBA Championship in 2010 and closed it with her third in 2018.
In the interim, however, her decade was uneven. Between 2010 and 2018, the Storm did not advance past the first round of playoffs. Bird also suffered injuries, undergoing surgery on each hip and on her left knee. She also missed the entire 2013 season. When she returned to health on less-than-stellar Storm team, rumors of Bird returning to her home state to play for the New York Liberty began to percolate.
So, on closer analysis, Bird’s decade may not appear to qualify as top-10 quality. Yet, it seems inconceivable not to have Bird on this list.
She rebounded from her mid-decade uncertainty to redefine athlete longevity and re-cement her legacy. In 2018, Bird became the WNBA’s all-time leader in games played, surpassing the 500-game mark as the seemingly ageless, efficient engine on what appeared to be a burgeoning dynasty. And by insisting that, age be damned, she still belongs on the court, Bird has extended her impact beyond the court.
Next up: No. 9 ...