One thing that the coronavirus crisis has done has opened the door to well-known faces and voices giving an unfiltered view into their thoughts. Four of top female athletes in the world may have set a new standard for such a craft over the weekend.
The sixth edition of the Sue Bird-Megan Rapinoe Instagram Live chat “A Touch More” featured another outspoken elite athlete: Bird’s fellow UConn alum-standout Diana Taurasi, and a late appearance by Taurasi’s spouse, former Phoenix Mercury teammate-now assistant coach Penny Taylor.
Over four entertaining hours, they dished on topics from COVID-19, to the WNBA, yesterday, today and tomorrow, to memories of Michael Jordan, to stories about playing in Russia, to stories about Geno Auriemma (and even Rapinoe had one or those).
Before the main event with Taurasi, there were hints of how entertaining this could be, beginning with Bird unveiling serious “kiddie shade” from her niece. “We were on FaceTime the other day and she says out of nowhere ‘Aunt Sue, you were kinda famous before,” Bird quoted her niece, “But since you met Megan you got more famous.”
Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.
But when it was time for the nine-time WNBA All-Star to step in the breach, it opened with an intro that would make any PA announcer take notes.
The intro that got it all started pic.twitter.com/I3yosYKgBc— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) April 26, 2020
From there it was Bird, Rapinoe and Taurasi bringing a mix of wisdom, wit, whimsy... and wine. From comparing notes on getting your first pair of Air Jordans, to rating their peers in the WNBA — including Taurasi giving her “Mount Rushmore” of the league players and explaining how underrated Hall of Fame player and Minnesota Lynx assistant coach Katie Smith was. “They never talk about her when the mention the 20 greatest players or whatever,” Taurasi said, “but people who played? When you know, you know. Katie was elite offensively, and she was elite defensively.”
And as expected, there were some hot takes such as Taurasi questioning the efficacy of the scouting report. “Scouting reports are BS,” she guffawed. Her response draw a sharp non-verbal rebuke from her wife/assistant coach who deftly made the counter points. “We do I lot of work on those and it would be nice you actually read them,” Taylor needled.
Another topic in their chat: why aren’t there more women sports owners?
“Where are the rich women? I’m so disappointed in the women that have a lot of money,” Taurasi said. “Sometimes you invest in things that don’t make money yet, but you want to make them better.” She said she’s often asked what she’ll do following her career as a player.
“Everyone is like, ‘Do you want to be a coach? Do you want to be a GM?’ No,” said Taurasi, “I want to fucking own it.”
When talk turned to last week’s WNBA Draft, the question came up about who would have the best WNBA career among this year’s rookie class, which includes University Oregon standout and New York Liberty first round pick Sabrina Ionescu. There is a growing consensus Ionescu is destined to be the greatest women’s player ever. Taurasi agreed, but Bird gave an eyebrow-raising counter, saying it could be Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter, who was taken No. 4 overall by the Atlanta Dream.
And there was even an “aww” moment — or more than one — such as when viewers get a glimpse of a young Taurasi long before basketball stardom.
If you want see more, here is the full edition of “A Touch More” part 6.