The WNBA is the best league with the best talent in the world, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are a prime example of it. It is past time to start paying attention to the WNBA.
So, since they are on break, the Olympics is a great place to start.
The World’s Best Play in the WNBA
Both the traditional 5X5 event and the introduction to 3X3 hoops to the games prove that the WNBA is the best league for basketball.
Altogether, 12 5X5 teams and eight 3X3 teams from Serbia, Spain, Canada, South Korea, Nigeria, Belgium, Australia, Puerto Rico, Italy, Romania, Mongolia, and the Russian Olympic Committee qualified in just one event. While the United States of America, China, Japan, and France all qualified for both.
Furthermore, of those 16 nations that qualified, ten countries and nine of the 12 five-on-five qualifiers have current or former WNBA players, with 43 out of 168 players that have played in the W.
Therefore, over 25% of the best players on the world stage play or played in the WNBA.
In the current WNBA season, 143 total players played in the first half of the season before the Olympic break, with 28 current players competing in Tokyo for their home country. While the vast majority of WNBA talent is from the U.S.A., 20 active players represent 11 different countries outside the U.S. in the WNBA.
Team U.S.A. is Proof
Finally, the team is made up of entirely WNBA players, the U.S.A. has won Gold in the six previous Olympic games and recently won their 50th straight Olympic game.
Even more recently, the U.S.A. 3×3 Olympic team, made up entirely of WNBA players and four more current WNBA players than any other 3X3 team, also just took the Olympic Gold medal in this year’s games.
Past Time to Watch the WNBA
For this reason, it is time to go to a WNBA game and watch these stellar players at your local arena or keep tabs on a team you have heard of or noticed. Whether you are already invested or are just a fan of basketball, the Olympics is a great place to start watching the best of the WNBA. So, here is a rundown of every WNBA team’s current players competing in this year’s 5X5 Olympic event and what country you can see them play for during this year’s games.
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- The four-time champion will be making her fifth Olympic appearance for Team U.S.A..
- The 2018 MVP and two-time champion will play in her second straight Olympics for Team U.S.A..
- The two-time champion and 2015 rookie of the year is a first-time Olympian for Team U.S.A..
- In her third WNBA stint between playing overseas, the Storm guard will play in her second Olympics for Australia.
- The second-year WNBA pro and champion will play in the Olympics for the first time for Australia.
Las Vegas Aces:
- The reigning MVP will play in her first Olympics for the first time for Team U.S.A..
- The 2016 champion is making her first Olympic appearance for Team U.S.A..
Honorable mention: Liz Cambage
- The four-time All-Star, four-time Olympian, and 2012 Bronze medalist for Australia opted out of the Tokyo games.
- The 2019 rookie of the year is debuting in Olympic play for Team U.S.A..
- The two-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, and 2017 MVP will be playing in her fourth Olympics for Team U.S.A..
- The WNBA’s Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award winner will be competing in her third Olympic Games for Canada.
- The forward for the Minnesota Lynx will be competing for the first time in the Olympics for Canada.
- The 2014 draftee of the San Antonio Stars and center for the Sky will be playing in the Olympics for the second time for Spain.
New York Liberty:
- The Liberty forward will be debuting in Olympic play for Australia.
Honorable mention: Han Xu
- The 2019 second-round pick for the Liberty has not played in the WNBA since the coronavirus pandemic, but she will make her Olympic debut for China.
- The three-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, and 2009 MVP will be making her fifth trip to the Olympic Games for Team U.S.A..
- The seven-time All-Star and 2014 WNBA champion will play in the Olympics for the second time for Team U.S.A..
- The five-time All-Star and 2013 third overall pick is making her Olympic debut for Team U.S.A..
- The 2019 All-Star is making her second trip to the Olympic games for Canada.
- The 2019 first-round pick of the Mercury is making her first Olympic appearance for Australia.
- The 2012 MVP and 2010 rookie of the year is back for her third Olympic games for Team U.S.A..
- The 2019 champion and 2021 All-Star for the Mystics will compete in her first Olympic games for Team U.S.A..
- The two-time most-improved player will be competing in her second Olympics for Australia.
Los Angeles Sparks:
Honorable mention: Arella Guirantes
- The 2021 first-round pick of the Sparks opted out of the Tokyo Olympics for Puerto Rico.
- The 2016 third-round pick of the Fever and second-year WNBA pro will participate in her first Olympics for Belgium.
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