In lieu of the Storm’s 20th anniversary, we enlisted a handful of the team’s current and former players as well as members of the local media to assemble a list of the top 20 players in franchise history.
The task seemed simple at the start, but everyone has their favorites and it didn’t take long before arguments erupted.
At the start, it was difficult to decide who should be No. 1?
Naturally, the two front-runners were Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.
“It hasn’t been that long since Lauren retired, but maybe some people have forgotten or don’t realize just how dominant she was,” Storm broadcast analyst Elise Woodward said. “If not for injuries at the tail end of her career, then she might have gone down as the greatest to ever play in the WNBA.
“Think about it, she retired at what (32), with two league championships, three WNBA MVP awards and three scoring titles. … Sue is amazing because she’s been able to play at such a high, high level for so long. But you build your franchise around players like Lauren Jackson.”
Bird didn’t disagree.
At the start of the season, the 11-time WNBA All-Star tabbed LJ as the top player in Storm history.
“We had such a good chemistry that she made me better and I made her better,” Bird said. “I saw first hand how much she impacted the game, what she did to opposing teams.
“She carried us to two titles. Maybe somebody else will do that, but until that happens, I’d put Lauren first.”
Still, the 38-year-old Bird edged Jackson for the top spot on our list.
“It’s virtually a toss-up between those two,” said Storm assistant Noelle Quinn, who was teammates with Bird and Jackson. “Sue has been doing this forever. I played against that (2010) team that won it all. I got here in (2013) left and came back (in 2016) and she hasn’t changed.
“She’s like Benjamin Button and somehow she keeps getting younger.”
The only consensus among the panel was Breanna Stewart, who ranks third on everyone’s list.
It remains to be seen if the reigning league MVP will ever win enough championships to overtake Bird and Jackson, but the 24-year-old superstar, who is out for the season due to an Achilles injury, is on pace to rewrite the Storm record book.
Forward Swin Cash, who helped Seattle to its second league title, and 2004 WNBA Finals MVP Betty Lennox round out the top five among the all-time greats.
The remaining top 10 includes (in order): Tanisha Wright, Jewell Loyd, Camille Little, Alysha Clark and Tina Thompson.
Last week, the Storm announced its 12-player all-time team as voted by fans, which included Clark among the top five.
“It was really awesome,” said Clark, who has played her entire eight-year WNBA career in Seattle. “I’m in the company of some amazing players that have played in this Storm uniform. To be on that team is pretty special.”
The bottom half of our top 20 Storm list starts with Crystal Langhorne at No. 11 followed by Natasha Howard, Kamila Vodichkova, Janell Burse and Iziane Castro Marques.
And the final five includes: Simone Edwards, Katie Smith, Sheri Sam, Semeka Randall and Ashley Robinson.
“To be honest, I wanted to stop after 15,” said a panelist, who asked not to be identified. “And that’s not a knock against anyone at the bottom of the list.
“The top five is so strong, but after 10 then you’re reaching a bit because those top players have been so entrenched for so long.”
Still, Clark put things into perspective while reflecting on the Storm’s influence on the WNBA the past two decades.
“I see greatness,” she said. “All the players that they listed were huge for the Storm franchise. Whether it was playing an integral part of building the franchise from the beginning, to helping win championships or to being pioneers in the WNBA.
“The women on that list are amazing. And to be mentioned in that same group was really awesome.”
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