Phoenix Rising

No time to pull punches: Every guy has gotten fed up with the women's pro-basketball game. Playing below the rim is, well, below average. I'm a few years removed from high school, AAU and blacktop days, but I'm still 6-foo-3 with decent hops, and I could not fathom the thought of a girl, professional or not, beating me in a game of basketball.

Of course, Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, a WNBA All-Star and national Player of the Year as a collegian at University of Connecticut, is not your aveage female baller, and, in fact, is one of the few to have ever elecited comments like, "Shorty plays like a dude." "I grew up playing against boys, from second grade on," she says."I played with guys like [NBA draftees] Marcus Williams and Josh Boone at UConn. They respected me. When you can shoot the ball, it helps." Guess our little post-practice game to 5 will not be the biggest challenge in her career.

Continue reading this story in the September 2006 issue of KING (#34).