Diana Taurasi is gearing up for her 18th WNBA season and has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“I plan on playing for a while,” the Phoenix guard said Wednesday per ESPN’s John Weinfuss. “I’ll let you guys know when I’m done because you’re not gonna see me anymore. When I’m done playing, I’m just going to stop playing. I’m not going to ease my way out.”
The 39-year-old is in the final year of her two-year contract extension with the Mercury, but Taurasi still has gas left in the tank.
“I still feel like I have a little bit left,” Taurasi said, “and a lot to do.”
According to ESPN, first-year coach Vanessa Nygaard will be intentional about Taurasi’s time in practice, focusing on preserving the veteran’s game-day readiness.
“There’ll be days when she won’t practice or practice as much but will still be doing something to help her body regenerate,” Nygaard said.
Restraint doesn’t come naturally to Taurasi, who said “it’s almost harder” not to practice every day and instead stay aware of a growing list of things she needs to prepare for competition.
“You might not necessarily see it or it might not translate on to the court, but there’s certain things that I still mentally and physically am altering all the time to be able to stay on the court and help this team win and hopefully make another run deep into the playoffs,” Taurasi said.
While she isn’t “ignorant about how old” she is, Taurasi said she tries to stay present in her basketball career, not giving retirement too much thought.
“When you’ve been doing something your whole life like I have, it’s just not a decision that I think about until it’s literally time to go.”
Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury will kick off their 2022 season on Friday, May 6, against the Las Vegas Aces.