Is Mercury's Taurasi the WNBA's GOAT?

 
 
Updated 9/7/2018 6:32 PM
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  • Phoenix Mercury forward Diana Taurasi (3) drives to the basket against the Seattle Storm during the first half of Game 4 of a WNBA basketball playoff semifinal, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Phoenix.

    Phoenix Mercury forward Diana Taurasi (3) drives to the basket against the Seattle Storm during the first half of Game 4 of a WNBA basketball playoff semifinal, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Phoenix. Associated Press

So the GOAT is gone.

The WNBA Finals started Friday in Seattle between the Washington Mystics and the Seattle Storm.

It should be a great best-of-five series between league MVP Breanna Stewart and the best team in the league all season (Seattle) and a Washington team that has been playing great basketball lately and features the always intriguing Elena Delle Donne, a star for the Chicago Sky from 2013 to 2016.

Stewart and Delle Donne will go down as two of the best players in WNBA history, but will they give the GOAT a run for her money?

Of course, the GOAT (greatest player of all time) of the WNBA is widely considered to be Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi.

She has been amazing for her entire career, has won multiple championships, owns all kinds of league records (including becoming the WNBA's all-time leading scorer in 2017), and she almost led her underdog team to the WNBA Finals this season.

Up until Seattle eliminated the Mercury on Tuesday in Game 5 of the best-of-five semifinals, the clutch Taurasi was 13-0 in winner-take-all games.

Taurasi is one of my all-time favorite WNBA players. She is an amazing talent. And I admire her extreme competitiveness. And as a reporter, I think she is a dream. She is cooperative, an entertaining quote and she often shows raw emotion and color when many other players censor and filter themselves.

On most days, if I had to make a declaration on the matter, I would say that Taurasi is the WNBA's GOAT.

But here's something to ponder. It's making me ponder myself.

Is a GOAT of any sport truly the greatest of all time, or simply the greatest of YOUR time?

Think about people who grew up watching NBA basketball when Wilt Chamberlain was king. They would probably argue that he is the NBA's GOAT. He finished his career in the early 1970s as the league's all-time leading scorer and was a one-in-a-million phenom at 7-foot-1.

But then came Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is still the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points. Then there was Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. All greats. Like super duper greats.

Some people are staunch Jordan supporters when it comes to the GOAT question. Others have made the argument that Bryant was better than Jordan. Others still have said that James is better than both Bryant and Jordan and is the true GOAT of the NBA.

My vote stays with Jordan, probably because he was the ultimate, the superstar of all superstars, when I was coming of age.

Same thing in the WNBA.

I just recently heard an interview with Tina Thompson, who was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.

She held the record for most career points in the WNBA (7,488) until Taurasi broke that last year.

She was talking about who inspired her over her career and she mentioned Cheryl Miller, probably the first true superstar of the women's game. Thompson said that Miller is the best women's basketball player ever.

Miller, the sister of former NBA star Reggie Miller, was a two-time NCAA champion at Southern California in 1983 and 1984. The championship games that Miller starred in were on TV and I distinctly remember that being the first time I saw women's basketball on TV.

Like Miller, but years later, Thompson played at USC, possibly inspired to go there by Miller.

Thompson has a point about Miller. Miller was definitely the best player of her time, and maybe, just maybe, of all time.

Who knows what more Miller could have done had she started playing highly competitive basketball when she was 8 years old like many WNBA players do now. Or if she had access to personal trainers and the most state-of-the-art training equipment and nutritional information like WNBA players do now.

I guarantee you her early basketball days included none of the above.

Same thing goes for NBA players of yesterday. Would Chamberlain have been even more dominant had he grown up with all of the advantages of today's modern world?

So back to the question of how to measure a GOAT.

Is it even possible to do?

Comparisons between players from different eras are so hard, and maybe even unfair.

But yes, that all being said, I would still say that Taurasi is the GOAT of the WNBA.

For now anyway. Maybe forever ... who knows?

What do you think?

Who is your GOAT?

pbabcock@dailyherald.com

Follow Patricia on Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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