Lucy Nicholson/Reuters"I always felt like the biggest honor was to represent our country," Lisa Leslie says. "The desire to not lose was so strong, almost stronger than the desire to win, if that makes sense."ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.
As a senior at Morningside (Inglewood, Calif.), Lisa Leslie once scored 101 points. In the first half. The other team never even bothered to come out for the second half.
After high school, the No. 5 woman in ESPN's countdown became a three-time All-American at USC, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and a three-time WNBA MVP.
"Once I realized you get a trophy if you win, I thought, this is awesome! I got so many, I could fill my house with them," she says. "But the rewards are having the opportunity to be a role model, to travel the world. It was an honor to play this sport."
Read the full story from espnW here.
Earlier in this series:
No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia
No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone
No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton
No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato
No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly
No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi
No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman
No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach
No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher
No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit
No. 30: Sprinter Gail Devers
No. 29: Basketball player Nancy Lieberman
No. 28: Marathoner Grete Waitz
No. 27: Soccer player Michelle Akers
No. 26: Basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw
No. 25: Swimmer Dara Torres
No. 24: Golfer Nancy Lopez
No. 23: Swimmer Tracy Caulkins
No. 22: Soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva
No. 21: Tennis player Venus Williams
No. 20: Figure skater Michelle Kwan
No. 19: Skier Lindsey Vonn
No. 18: Softball player Lisa Fernandez
No. 17: Basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale
No. 16: Basketball player Sheryl Swoopes
No. 15: Swimmer Janet Evans
No. 14: Figure skater Katarina Witt
No. 13: Basketball player Cheryl Miller
No. 12: Sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner
No. 11: Tennis player Billie Jean King
No. 10: Tennis player Serena Williams
No. 9: Tennis player Steffi Graf
No. 8: Gymnast Nadia Comaneci
No. 7: Tennis player Chris Evert
No. 6: Speedskater Bonnie Blair