Advertisement

WNBA Star Diana Taurasi Has to Pack This One Thing for the 2024 Paris Olympics

women's basketball medal ceremony olympics day 16

If you've been watching women's basketball for longer than five seconds (@ all of you new fans), then Diana Taurasi needs no introduction. For the unfamiliar, there's simply one word to aptly summarize her: legend. That's not hyperbolic. At this point, her name is synonymous to women's basketball, and more so, to winning.

Allow me to run the receipts: Diana led UConn Women's Basketball, the longtime holy grail of the college sport, to three consecutive National Championships. When she graduated in 2004, she was the No. 1 WNBA draft pick and was selected by the Phoenix Mercury (which she *also* led to three league championships). That same year, she made her first Olympic team and won a gold medal in Athens.

atlanta dream v phoenix mercury
Chris Coduto - Getty Images

Now, she's in the midst of her 20th WNBA season (all of which have been played with the Mercury), is the league's all-time leading scorer, and is planning to head to her sixth Olympics this summer...making her the first basketball player in history—men's or women's—to reach that many games. So like I said, legendary.

But even if you've been watching Diana play for literal decades (hi!), you might not know that she's struggled with eczema since she was in college.

The eczema medicine dupixent has helped her feel better, and thanks to her partnership with the pharma companies Regeneron and Sanofi, who make the drug, Diana sat down for this interview to talk about the skin condition...and also all those other iconic things previously mentioned. Let's get into it!


I grew up watching you play, and I played college basketball in the Big Ten, so I'm—

Oh! Where?

Northwestern.

Oh my gosh, one of my best friends went to Northwestern!

Yaas! 'Go Cats! I'm really excited to talk hoops with you. This will be your sixth Olympics, which is history-making for basketball. What are you most looking forward to this time around?

When you put that USA jersey on, there's nothing like it. When you're on the team with the 12 best players in the world and you have one common goal, to win a gold medal, it's really powerful. It's nice to be on a team to celebrate each other and enjoy each other's successes when usually you're competing against one another. It's really one of those experiences you never take for granted—whether it's your first or sixth.

basketball oly 2020 2021 tokyo aus usa
ARIS MESSINIS - Getty Images

How does your role change on a squad like that? This is literally a Super Team.

On the Mercury, I kind of wear all the hats. I'm probably the team class clown. Team mom. Most likely to get in trouble *laughs*. But same time, the most likely to hold someone responsible. I think the beauty of being on the team is, not only can you find different ways to be yourself, but each team kind of needs a different part of you. That's the beauty of playing on the national team: whatever you are on your WNBA team, Team USA might not might need that. They might need one thing you do really, really well, and you have to do that to the best of your ability.

I love that. How do you prep for the Olympics when you're in the midst of the WNBA season?

It's all maintenance. It's about being at your best when the Olympics comes because the Olympics are tough. Basketball is the only sport that goes the whole Olympics, so it's a lot of games in a short amount of time. The last five Olympics we played every other day. On the off days, you probably have a practice, then the day is over. I think this Olympics there is a little bit more time in between games. It's almost like you can't think about it until it happens because you're entrenched in the WNBA season and you're worried about the team you're on. So having that mental shift has been one of Team USA Basketball's biggest strengths.

Of all your Olympic experiences, do you have a favorite memory from one?

I have so much admiration for all of them, but your first one's always special. My first one was 2004 in Greece. I had just graduated college and I went straight to national things. You're kind of the young kid, everything's new, you don't know what to expect. Then as they go on, they each have a special place because you're in a different place in your career and as a person.

women's basketball medal ceremony olympics day 16
Gregory Shamus - Getty Images

Is there something you always have to pack with you for the Olympics, whether it be personal or for basketball?

Hairspray. There's not many things that I need, but my hairspray, man, I do. I'll pack like three or four bottles of my favorite L'Oreal, for sure.

I mean, the slick back bun is iconic at this point! With your sixth Olympics coming and being in the W for 20 years now, I'm curious how you think about legacy and what you want yours to be.

Legacy is a funny word. Sometimes you don't get to really pick your legacy, for whatever reason—whether it's luck, whether it's injury, whether it's this or that. I've always just focused on the game no matter what stage I was in, in my life and my career. Legacies are for the people that get to watch and observe, and they have their take on what it is. But my legacy is that I love the game. And that I always put everything into it: 100 percent mind, heart and soul.

When you think about Little Diana, who just had Hoop Dreams, what does she think about your life now?

I was this little funny little kid playing basketball in L.A. This is all still a dream come true. Every time I reflect, I'm like, I really went to Connecticut, I'm really still playing in the WNBA, I really have an opportunity to play in another Olympics. It's all the things that you work for. But even still, you don't always get what you want. I'm lucky in so many ways.

Tell me a little about your eczema journey. Did it ever impact your confidence, personally or on the court?

There's nothing worse than when you have an outbreak and not knowing what the other person is thinking. I remember going to pool parties and everyone would be hanging out and I'm like, 'Oh, I gotta go shower and put cream on.' It consumed my everyday life and was something that was always on my mind, especially how uncomfortable it was walking onto the court knowing that my eczema was flaring up. Now, there's nothing like being able to be on the court and you look down and you have clear skin. It's been life changing.

This interview has been lightly edited for space and clarity.

You Might Also Like