July 25, 2013
RUSTON - Teresa Weatherspoon is accustomed to making history.
The five-time WNBA all-star and current Louisiana Tech women's basketball coach continued that trend when it was announced today that she will be the first WNBA great to join the National Basketball Retired Players Association.
The announcement came today from the NBRPA, the only alumni association directly supported by both the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), after a historic vote by its board of directors to welcome in former WNBA players as members.
Weatherspoon, who debuted with the New York Liberty in the league's inaugural season of 1997 en route to a 4-time WNBA All-Star career, is the league's first former player to join the NBRPA.
"It's a no-brainer to be a part of it and get back into the atmosphere, the love circle of the game of basketball," Weatherspoon told ESPNW reporter Sarah Spain in an article today. "At this point you don't feel like, 'Oh, I played in the WNBA, you're NBA, you're Harlem Globetrotters, you're ABA,' what you feel like is a family, a basketball family."
Weatherspoon is one of the most successful women's basketball players in history, with an NCAA Championship, Olympic Gold Medal and four WNBA Conference Championships. Additional former WNBA players will be announced as NBRPA Members when this historic new partnership is officially launched on August 6 when the Connecticut Suns host the Los Angeles Sparks at Mohegan Sun Arena.
"As a long-time NBRPA Member it is my pleasure to welcome the WNBA and Teresa Weatherspoon in to the Legends of Basketball family," said NBRPA Chairman of the Board Otis Birdsong. "With a world class basketball legacy and dedication to give back and serve the community, ladies like Teresa embody the traits we seek from NBRPA Members."
"For more than two decades the NBA and NBPA have been our partners and we're very pleased to welcome the WNBA into the NBRPA family," said NBRPA President & CEO Arnie D. Fielkow. "There's no doubt that the addition of these new members will help fulfill our two-pronged mission to assist former players' transition into life after the game and positively impact communities and youth through basketball."
The NBRPA made Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Lynette Woodard its first female member in February of 2013. Woodard was eligible for membership as a former Harlem Globetrotters player. Details regarding the announcement of additional former WNBA players at the August 6 Connecticut-Los Angeles game at Mohegan Sun Arena will be released in the near future.