Photo Courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Lisa Leslie is possibly one of the most well-known WNBA players of all time. Leslie accomplished a lot in her career, and as the WNBA gears up for its 2023 season, Leslie’s legacy remains.
Here are five accolades Lisa Leslie accomplished in her career.
1.) She had her college and WNBA jerseys retired
When a player gets their jersey retired, it serves as a reminder as to what they brought to their team. Greats like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and more have had their jerseys retired, and in some cases, players get their jerseys retired at both the collegiate and professional level. Leslie had her USC jersey retired during the 2006-07 season and her Sparks jersey retired in 2010. Leslie was elite at both levels as she averaged 20.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.9 steals in her four years at USC. In the WNBA, she averaged 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. With those stats, it was only right for her jersey to be retired at both levels.
2.) She is a three-time MVP
Leslie came into the WNBA early. She was a part of the inaugural draft in 1997, and was a top 10 pick. She did well in her early years (1997-2000) but 2001 was where she really took off. That was the year Leslie won her first MVP award. Leslie won the MVP award after averaging 19.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Leslie’s performance helped the Sparks finish the season 28-4 that season. She won MVP in 2004 and 2006, with the last one being her career best in points (with 20.0 points per game).
3.) She is a two-time WNBA Champion
Leslie also has some championships under her belt. Her first championship came in 2001 (the year she won MVP). The Sparks reached the WNBA Finals and beat the Charlotte Sting 2-0 to become champions. Leslie won Finals MVP in this series. So, she won MVP, All-Star MVP, a championship and Finals MVP all in the same year. Leslie and the Sparks went on to repeat and beat the New York Liberty to do so. Leslie won Finals MVP that year as well.
4.) She was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game
On top of the typical accolades (MVPs, championships, etc.), Leslie made history in another way. She was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game. On July 30, 2002, Leslie sped down the court and as nobody could catch her, she went for the slam. Since then, players like Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Jonquel Jones and Liz Cambage have dunked during games, but all of that started with Leslie. That in itself is history.
5.) She has a real estate firm
Since retirement, Leslie has done quite a bit. She is a Hall-of-Famer, she won a championship as a coach in Ice Cube’s Big 3 league and in 2022, she launched a new venture.
Leslie started Aston Rose, which is a real estate firm that finds homes for celebrities and athletes. The firm operates in California and Florida. Leslie is showing that there are opportunities for athletes after their playing careers are over. And Aston Rose could be one of many moves she makes in the future.
Lisa Leslie has accomplished things on and off the court, and as time goes on, she will remain a basketball legend.