“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
ANN MEYERS DRYSDALE – LOTT IMPACT TROPHY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
One of the true pioneers in women’s basketball, Hall of Famer and award-winning broadcaster Ann Meyers Drysdale enters her second season as Vice President of both the Phoenix Mercury and the Phoenix Suns. The role follows five successful seasons as General Manager for the Mercury where she constructed the franchise’s two WNBA championship teams in 2007 and 2009.
Enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., as a player in 1993, Meyers Drysdale’s basketball resume enters its fifth decade, which she documented in her autobiography “You Let Some Girl Beat You?” released in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Title IX in the summer of 2012.
Meyers Drysdale’s storied basketball life began when she became the first-ever high school player to make a United States National Team in 1974 and later was the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship from UCLA. The UCLA basketball legend was a four-time Kodak All-American, the first male or female to achieve that honor. Upon graduation, she held 12 of 13 school records and led the Bruins to a national championship in 1978. Meyers Drysdale became the first female to be named in the school’s athletics Hall of Fame and had her jersey No. 15 retired. In addition to her basketball accomplishments, Meyers Drysdale competed in volleyball and won a national championship title in track in 1975.
As a standout player, the 5-9, 140-pound guard represented the United States in the 1976 Olympics, 1975 and ’79 Pan American Games, and the 1975 and ’79 World Championships. As part of the first women’s US Olympic Basketball team, Meyers Drysdale earned a silver medal at the Montreal Games in 1976.
Meyers Drysdale remains the only female to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA team when she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. After being released by the Pacers, she served as a color commentator for the Pacers broadcasts and was the first woman to broadcast an NBA game.
In 1978 she became the first player drafted in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) and resumed her playing career with the New Jersey Gems, where she was named MVP after leading the league in steals and averaging 22.2 points. She also took home the title as one of only two women to win the ABC Sports Superstars competition three years in a row from 1981-1983 and was the only woman to participate in the men’s competition.
Meyers Drysdale has established herself as an expert analyst on ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX Sports, and CBS and has done commentary for men’s and women’s basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, and baseball since 1979. Her illustrious broadcasting resume includes the 1984, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics as well as a stint as a broadcaster for the 1988-89 Loyola Marymount men’s basketball team, coached by former Mercury Head Coach Paul Westhead and featuring current Mercury General Manager and Head Coach Corey Gaines, a guard on the team. In 2006, her incredible sports journalism contributions were honored as the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) Ronald Reagan Media Award, joining an elite group of winners that includes Howard Cosell, Bob Costas, Keith Jackson, Frank Deford and Rupert Murdoch.
In 2012, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association renamed its Women’s National Player of the Year Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year Award, in honor of her impact in the sport. Current Mercury center Brittney Griner won the award in 2013.
Meyers Drysdale has five sisters and five brothers, including brother Dave Meyers, who played college basketball at UCLA under legendary coach John Wooden and won two NCAA Championships with teammate Bill Walton. He played five seasons (1975-80) for the Milwaukee Bucks after being one of four players traded from the Los Angeles Lakers for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975.
In 1986, Annie married former Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Famer pitcher Don Drysdale and took the name Ann Meyers Drysdale. It was the first time that a married couple was members of their respective sports’ Hall of Fame. The Southern California native and Drysdale, who passed away in 1993, have three children together: sons Don Jr. (D.J.) and Darren, and daughter Drew.