Kobe Bryant thinks these WNBA stars ‘could play in the NBA right now’

Diana Taurasi has won three WNBA titles with the Phoenix Mercury.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Diana Taurasi once called it a “long shot” that she or any other woman could play in the NBA.

But there’s an NBA legend who thinks Taurasi and several other female players could hold their own in the men’s league “right now.”

In a recent interview with CNN, former Lakers great Kobe Bryant was asked about the prospect of a woman one day making it to the NBA.

“I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now, honestly,” Bryant said without hesitation. “There’s a lot of players that have a lot of skill that could do it.”

He named three such players off the top of his head — Taurasi, Maya Moore and Elena Delle Donne. Between the three of them, those players have won eight WNBA championships and earned four league MVP awards.


Washington's Elena Delle Donne is the reigning WNBA MVP.
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)

But in a 2011 interview with ESPN, Taurasi said she didn’t think women could compete with men simply from a physical standpoint.

“If you could put me in a machine that could make me 6 foot 5 and as strong as they were, I could play in the NBA,” Taurasi said. “When you talk about how physically superior they are. ... I can’t help it.

“Skill-wise, knowing the game, there’s no difference between men and women ... [but] it would be really hard. It’s a long shot.”

Maya Moore has won four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx.
(Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

But Bryant thinks Taurasi and others would do just fine.

“They could most certainly keep up,” he told CNN.