Diana Taurasi is taking year 19 in the league just as seriously as year one.
She spends the most time in the weight room, and the relentlessness of her training is just as much – if not more – than it was when she was just entering the league.
“Everything I do my whole life is to make sure I can be on the court,” Taurasi told ESPN. “And it’s exhausting.”
It’s a necessity for Taurasi, who knows that at 40 years old more must be done to maintain the level that she’s grown accustomed to.
“I think that’s probably the biggest thing to committing to playing during the summer,” Taurasi added. “It’s really committing to play for nine months. I’m not going to play without all this. I just know how much work you have to put in to be at a certain level, and if you don’t, it’s going to show.”
“At this point,” she continued, “if I half-ass it, it’s not going to look pretty nor will I feel good about it, and I’m just selling myself short and my teammates short.”
Once fully healed from the quad injury that she suffered at the end of last season, she was back training six days a week. But it wasn’t just basketball – her training included massages, acupuncture, cups and soft tissue work before exercises and Pilates in the weight room. Only after all of that would Taurasi take the court.
“I’m just f—ing too competitive of myself,” Taurasi said. “Anytime I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this,’ I go to the gym. It’s probably not healthy.”
And Taurasi’s attitude is contagious for those around her.
“She gives me a different perspective of what 40-year-olds can do,” teammate Brianna Turner said. “When I see 40, I don’t think professional basketball player, but Diana has definitely proven that wrong.”
For Taurasi, signing a two-year contract extension in February is about finishing her career right.
“Personally and as a team, that’s just not the way I wanted to go out,” Taurasi said of last season. “I still wanted to play. I still love to play. I still felt really good. I feel like there were times I could do anything on the court that I wanted to and there were times where I didn’t feel that way.
“So, now, the goal is to do that every night.”