In case you missed it, the Storm is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To mark the historical achievement, the brain trust got together during the offseason to devise a plan to select the young organization’s All-Decade team. Voting began in May and concludes on the team’s web site on July 3. The announcement will be made later that month and I’m told the players will be flown in for a ceremony on Aug. 1, which also will be attended by WNBA president Donna Orender.
I’m still irked at the decision to sift through names, nominating 24 for final tally, instead of allowing fans to select from everyone. Especially since the player who scored the first basket, Katirna Hibbert, is omitted and the player who didn’t do much in a Storm uniform, Sheryl Swoopes, is included. Yet, it was still entertaining to rummage through old stories and artifacts to remember what was and wonder what could be.
Sidestepping my own norm, I’m going to stick with the rules submitted by the Storm and release my ballot for the All-Decade team. But here’s to you Hibbert, game footage will show how hard it was to get that first basket. As a writer who knows how much offense is important to attendance/interest, you’ll never be forgotten for getting this Storm rolling.
In no order, here’s my team:
PG Sue Bird: OK, maybe there’s a little order here. While Lauren Jackson will be remembered for her prowess on the court, the power forward needed an offensive orchestrator. Even without liking each other their first season, Bird and Jackson connected to help lead the Storm into the 2002 playoffs during Bird’s rookie season. Jackson, still young, only nabbed the Storm four more wins her rookie season in 2001. Bird, learning and growing a lot through the years, leads the Storm all-time in assists (1,298). Whether through free agency or retirement, as soon as Bird stops playing for the Storm, her number should be retired.
PF Lauren Jackson: The two-time MVP is as unique as the city. She’s grown into a defensive menace and no matter what happens to the WNBA, people will be talking about their memories of watching Jackson play like they do Steve Largent or Ken Griffey Jr. The native Australian made a lot of personal sacrifices to help lead the Storm to its 2004 championship and displayed her loyalty in returning during unrestricted free agency last winter to conclude her career in Seattle. She’s the all-time leader in points (4,766), rebounds (1,935), blocks (499), games played (244), and personal fouls (767). Ditto on the jersey thing. In fact, hold the ceremony now.
C Kamila Vodichkova: The Czech Republic native (pictured right by NBAE) was the organization’s first true pro. She’d sit in the locker room prior to games with her coffee and scouting reports, preparing for the opponent. Bruised afterward, she rarely spoke ill of officiating. The team’s first-ever draft pick, she got the Storm rolling offensively in Game 3 of the championship series against Connecticut. Without that start, who knows if Bird and Lennox would have been able to bring it home in the second half. Vodichkova left her mark, ranking among the Storm’s top-5 in points (1,202), blocks (70), games played (146), and, of course, personal fouls (426).