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Thursday, 27 June 2013

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER DIANA LORENA TAURASI PLAYS FOR THE PHOENIX MERCURY IN THE WNBA : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "






































































                           BLACK            SOCIAL            HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                 Diana Lorena Taurasi  born June 11, 1982 in Glendale, California) is a professional basketball player who plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA and UMMC Ekaterinburg of Russia. In 2011, she was voted one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history by fans.

Early career

Taurasi grew up in Chino, California. She attended Don Antonio Lugo High School, where she was the recipient of the 2000 Cheryl Miller Award, presented by the Los Angeles Times to the best player in Southern California. She was also named the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year. Taurasi finished her prep career ranked third in state history with 3,047 points (behind Giuliana Mendiola's 3,069 and Cheryl Miller's 3,446). Taurasi was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the 2000 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored twelve points, and earned MVP honors.
Taurasi's father, Mario, was born in Italy, and raised in Argentina. He has been a professional soccer player in Italy, and played for several years as a goalie. Diana Taurasi's mother, Liliana, is Argentinian. Mario and Liliana Taurasi emigrated from Argentina to the United States before Diana was born. She has an older sister named Jessika.

College

Following a highly decorated high school career, Taurasi enrolled at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and began playing for the women's basketball team during the 2000–2001 season. Taking the court primarily at point guard and shooting guard, she led the team to three consecutive NCAA championships. Leading up to the final championship, her coach, Geno Auriemma, would declare his likelihood of winning with the claim, "We have Diana, and you don't."
Taurasi also received many personal accolades at UConn including the 2003 and 2004 Naismith College Player of the Year awards, the 2003 Wade Trophy, and the 2003 Associated Press Player of the Year award. In addition to the national recognition she received during her time at UConn, Taurasi was held in legendary status by many Connecticut fans. For example, state senator Thomas Gaffey nominated her to join Prudence Crandall as the state's heroine. She averaged 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in her collegiate career. During her time at UConn, her team compiled a record of 139 wins and 8 losses. Diana was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.

WNBA career

Following her collegiate career, Taurasi was selected first overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury, a team that went 8–26 in the 2003 season. At times in her career, she had to play forward because there were shorter players in the starting five on her team. However, she mainly plays guard.
In her WNBA debut, Taurasi netted 26 points and led the Mercury to an 84–76 victory over the Seattle Storm. For the season, the rookie averaged 17.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Although the Mercury did not qualify for the playoffs, Taurasi was named to the Western Conference All Star team and won the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In 2005, Taurasi averaged 16.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while battling an ankle injury. She was an All Star for the second straight year, but the Mercury faded down the stretch and again missed the playoffs.
Former NBA coach Paul Westhead became the Mercury's head coach prior to the 2006 season and brought his up-tempo style to Phoenix. Their roster was further bolstered by the addition of rookie Cappie Pondexter, the #2 overall selection in the 2006 WNBA Draft.
Taurasi flourished under Westhead's system, leading the league in scoring and earning a third straight trip to the All Star Game. She broke Katie Smith's league records for points in a season (741 during the 2006 season) and is tied with Lauren Jackson for most points in a game (47 vs. Houston on August 10). In 2006, Taurasi averaged a record 25.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. The Mercury finished 18–16, but after losing a tie-breaker with Houston and Seattle, missed the playoffs.
In 2007, Taurasi finally reached the WNBA playoffs. In the first round, the Mercury eliminated the Seattle Storm two games to none. Next, they swept the San Antonio Silver Stars in a hard fought two game series. Taurasi got to her first WNBA Finals, but had to face the defending champion Detroit Shock. Taurasi and Pondexter led the Mercury to their first WNBA title. With this victory Taurasi became the seventh player ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal. The others to achieve this are Ruth Riley, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, and fellow Huskies Swin Cash, Kara Wolters, Sue Bird, and after the London 2012 Games, Maya Moore & Tamika Catchings.
Taurasi was a member of the USA women's 2004, 2008 and 2012 gold medal Olympic Basketball Teams.
In the 2009 season, Taurasi was named the WNBA MVP and later led the Phoenix Mercury to its second WNBA championship in three years by beating the Indiana Fever, three games to two, as Taurasi was named the WNBA Finals MVP. Taurasi is one of only two players (the other being Cynthia Cooper-Dyke), to win the season scoring title, the season MVP award, a WNBA Championship and the finals MVP in the same season.In 2011, alongside being selected to her 7th All-WNBA First Team, she was voted one of the Top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA by fans.

International career

Taurasi was recruited to play for the European team Spartak Moscow. The team had finished in eleventh place in the Russian league when Shabtai von Kalmanovich decided to buy the team. Kalmanovich was a successful business man with various interests, including women's basketball. He had stopped in to see a local women's basketball team in Yekaterinburg, and "literally fell in love with the point guard, Anna Arkhipova". He ended up buying that team, but later decided to buy the Spartak Moscow Region team, and turn it into a top team. He arranged to add a number of top-notch players, who had earned seven Olympic medals between them. Many of the players were European, but the team also included Australian born Lauren Jackson and USA born Sue Bird and Taurasi.
The team would go on to win four consecutive Euroleague championships.
On December 24, 2010, Taurasi's lawyers revealed that Taurasi had tested positive for a mild stimulant while playing in Turkish Champion Fenerbah├že professional basketball team. According to her lawyer, Howard Jacobs, the positive test came from an "A" sample, and that testing had been requested on a second "B" sample. Jacobs also was quick to point out that the substance Taurasi tested positive for "was not a steroid or recreational drug." Until the "B" sample can be tested, Taurasi has been provisionally suspended from the Turkish league. In its own statement, the Turkish basketball association revealed that the WADA-list banned substance was modafinil.
On February 16, 2011, Diana Taurasi was cleared of doping allegations. ABC News indicated Taurasi was absolved from all doping allegations and can rejoin her Istanbul team following the retraction of the Turkish laboratory on its earlier finding on the former UConn star’s urine samples.
On May 16, 2012 Taurasi signed a contract with UMMC.