As the New York Liberty gear up for the first-ever No. 1 draft pick in franchise history, let’s take a look back at some of the Liberty’s historic WNBA Draft moments.
First-Ever WNBA College Draft Pick
In 1997, heading into the W’s inaugural season, the New York Liberty obtained a wide-array of talent and unbeknownst to them, future franchise legends. After the league’s initial player allocation which placed future Hall of Famers Teresa Weatherspoon and Rebecca Lobo in New York, two drafts were held to supplement the rosters.
In the first (‘Elite Draft’) the Liberty selected Kym Hampton and Vickie Johnson. The second draft was comprised of eligible college players, and New York chose Rutgers forward Sue Wicks 6th overall. All of these women were pioneers for both the organization and for women’s basketball. They make up four of the five spots in the New York Liberty Ring of Honor, which recognizes retired players who have made the most significant contributions to the Liberty’s tradition of excellence and to the growth of the WNBA. Who holds the fifth spot? The NBA’s first female assistant coach—Becky Hammon.
Highest Picks in Franchise History
Excluding dispersal drafts, New York did not have a top-three pick in the WNBA Draft before 2019. Last year, with the 2nd overall pick, New York selected Louisville guard, Asia Durr, as its highest draftee to date. Prior to Durr, the next-highest draft selection was Alyssa Thomas (4th overall in 2014).
Now, in its 24th season, the Liberty will select first in the 2020 draft.
The No. 1 Overall Pick
It’s no secret the profound, franchise-changing effect an elite draft pick can have on an organization. Throughout the history of the W, No.1 overall selections such as Sue Bird (2002), Diana Taurasi (2004), Candace Parker (2008), Tina Charles (2010), Brittney Griner (2013), among many others, have gone on to have outstanding careers, while also changing and elevating the game of basketball for all.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the draft picks live on ESPN with coverage on Friday April 17 beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The draft will also be available on the ESPN App.
NY Liberty Virtual Draft Watch Party: Presented by FanDuel
The Liberty will host a Virtual Draft Party Presented by FanDuel, which will be on Friday, April 17, beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Facebook Live. The event will feature host Ros Gold-Onwude, New York Liberty draftees, coaches, general manager and current and former Liberty players such as T-Spoon and more! There will also be giveaways and live music from DJ C. DeVone. Plus, a pre-draft show presented by YES Network!
Let’s Make History Together! RSVP here!