Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi: ‘WNBA finds a way to mess it up’

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PHOENIX — Diana Taurasi doesn’t hold back.

When the face of the WNBA has an opinion, she shares it. When she talks, people listen.

Even in a season in which she has played sparingly as she continues to find her way back to the court after back surgery in April, Taurasi has a lot to say about the past, current and future states of the WNBA.

But even though Taurasi, who’s in her 16th season in the league, has plenty of opinions on how much she and everyone else in the WNBA is getting paid, how the league treats its players and how the stars are (not) promoted — along with a laundry list of other topics — she admittedly doesn’t have the answers.

Those, she told espnW, need to be found by the league.

With the WNBA All-Star Game getting the Las Vegas treatment this weekend, and new WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert expected to hold her first news conference before Saturday’s game (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET), the league is ready to take center stage. But the biggest issues — player salary (the rookie minimum is $41,965, and the veteran maximum base is $117,500), playing year-round to supplement incomes, and the collective bargaining agreement — will also be in the limelight and hot talking points.

Taurasi sat down with espnW and shared her thoughts on some of the WNBA’s most pressing issues. The Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.

espnW: How do you feel about the pay disparity in the WNBA?

Diana Taurasi: It’s just so sad to me. You know, 15 years in, it’s just such a sad thing to talk about. We had to go to a communist country to get paid like capitalists, which is so backward to everything that was in the history books in sixth grade. And even then, even within our pay scale, it doesn’t make sense. On a team, you could have seven players making the same amount of money. That doesn’t make sense to me.

espnW: The percentage is off, right? Is that the biggest argument?

Taurasi: Something’s missing. I don’t know. I don’t know what the solution is. But what’s going on now, it’s not

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