USA National Team, USA Women's Basketball
Ann Meyers Drysdale
- Co-MVP and Top Scorer of the WBL with the New Jersey Gems (1980)
- Olympic Silver Medalist (1976)
- NCAA Champion with the UCLA Bruins (1978)
- 4x Kodak All-American (1975-1978)
- Awarded the USSA Ronald Reagan Media Award (2006)
Ann Meyers Drysdale is a retired professional basketball player and major figure in the history of women’s basketball and sports journalism. She was a standout player at all levels of the game; high school, college, the Olympic Games, international tournaments, and professionally. As a professional player, she was the first woman drafted by the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1978 by the New Jersey Gems. While playing for the Gems, Ann was named the WBL Co-MVP and Top Scorer in 1980 after leading the league in steals and averaging 22 points per game. She entered the inaugural Women Superstars competition and won three consecutive titles from 1980 to 1982. Ann remains the only woman ever to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA franchise, she signed with the Indiana Pacers in September of 1979. As an amateur, Ann won several gold and silver medals as a part of the US National team. She was named to the 1979 US Team that won the FIBA World Championship for Women, the United States’ first world championship win since 1957. She was a member of the 1975 Pan American Games gold-winning team and played on the US Olympic basketball team that won a silver medal in the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, the year women’s basketball made its Olympic debut. Ann also won silver at the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan and silver at the 1977 World University Games in Sofia. She was the first player to be part of the US National team while still in high school.
Originally from San Diego, California, Ann was one of eleven children. In high school, she lettered in seven sports, including in softball, badminton, field hockey, tennis and basketball. She earned thirteen Most Valuable Player awards and led her basketball teams to an 80-5 record. Ann was highly recruited to UCLA and was the first woman to be awarded a full-ride four-year athletic scholarship there. During her collegiate career from 1976 to 1979, Ann was a four-time Kodak All-American, the first male or female to do so. By the time she graduated, Ann held 12 of 13 school records and led the Bruins to a national championship win in 1978, the same year she recorded the first quadruple-double in NCAA Division I history, with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals. Also in 1978, Ann won the Honda Sports Award and the Broderick Cup as outstanding women’s basketball player of the year. In addition to her incredible collegiate basketball career at UCLA, Ann competed in volleyball and won a national championship in track in 1975. Currently, Ann still holds UCLA career records for season steals with 125, career steals with 403 and career blocked shots with 101. She was the first female to be named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and had her jersey No. 15 retired.
Most recently, Ann has established herself as an expert analyst on ESPN, CBS and NBC and has done commentary for men’s and women’s basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball and soccer since 1979. Ann first worked as a color analyst for the Indiana Pacers, the first woman to do game analysis for the team. She won the American Broadcasting Company’s Superstars competition in 1982 before announcing for ABC Sports at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and has since covered several US international competitions, including the 1986, 1990 and 1994 Goodwill Games and the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. She frequently contributes to WNBA.com and has earned several sports journalism honors, most notably the United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) Ronald Reagan Media Award in 2006 and the Mel Greenberg Award in 1999. Ann served as the President and General Manager of the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA from 2007 to 2011 and is currently the Vice President of the Mercury as well as for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. Ann was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1993, was part of the women’s inaugural class enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, won the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 2003 and was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007.