Long Island’s Sue Bird and five players with ties to the Liberty were among the players selected as the 20 greatest and most influential in WNBA history.
The league announced the list on Tuesday morning to commemorate the inaugural regular-season game played on June 21, 1997, between the Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.
Bird, who is from Syosset, is one of the nine active players selected. She has spent her entire WNBA career with the Seattle Storm.
“To be included among the top 20 players in this league’s history is a huge honor,” Bird said in a statement released by the league. “Watching the level of competition rise over the years has been incredible and I am excited to see where the league goes in the next 20.”
Bird, a nine-time WNBA All-Star selection and two-time WNBA champion, was also among the top 15 players selected in 2011, which was the league’s 15th season).
Other current players selected include: Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks, Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever, Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, Cappie Pondexter of the Chicago Sky, and current Liberty player Swin Cash. Pondexter played for the Liberty from 2010 to 2014.
Of the former players selected, four played for the Liberty during their WNBA careers. Becky Hammon played for the Liberty from 1999 to 2006, Katie Smith played for the Liberty in 2013 and is currently the team’s associate head coach, and Teresa Weatherspoon, currently the Liberty’s director of player development, played for the Liberty from 1997 to 2003.
Other former players honored include Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Deanna Nolan, Ticha Penicheiro, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson.