Mercury GM and ASU guard team up for all-star lecture

By

Marshall Terrill

<p>A basketball pioneer and an ASU star athlete will join forces to close out an all-star lecture series which examines human issues as it relates to sports.</p><p>Phoenix Mercury President and General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale and Sun Devil point guard Dymond Simon are teaming up to present “Gender, Race, Sports, and Equality.” The evening will conclude the fall 2010 Humanities Lecture Series. It all starts 6:30 p.m., Nov. 4, at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building II, 550 N. Third St., Innovation Auditorium, room 110, Phoenix.</p><p>Admission is free and the lecture is open to the public.</p><p>Keynote speaker Meyers Drysdale was ranked by Time magazine as one of the “Top 10 Female Sports Pioneers” when she was the first player drafted into the now-defunct Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1978. A year later she was the first woman ever to sign a contract with the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association. Though Meyers Drysdale failed to make the 1979 team, she ended up making sports history.</p><p>“Sports are a mirror reflection of society and a great teacher of life,” said Meyers Drysdale. “At some point in time, we are all going to experience success as well as failure. Sports can teach you how to learn the fundamentals, how to learn your craft, how to handle a situation and how to deal with other people.”</p><p>Her pro career was preceded by stellar high school, college and amateur campaigns. The 5-foot-9 guard was the first high school player to play on the U.S. National Team; the first woman ever awarded a full athletic scholarship at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), where she became a four-time All-American and led the Bruins to a national championship; represented the U.S. in the 1976 Olympics and earned a silver medal; and was the first player drafted in the now-defunct Women’s Professional Basketball Association in 1978. Her hardwood feats were recognized when Meyers Drysdale was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. in 1993.</p><p>In the late 1970s, Meyers Drysdale provided color commentary for the Pacers at a time when female personalities in sports were a rarity. She became an award-winning broadcaster for ESPN, NBC and CBS. In addition to men and women’s basketball, Meyers Drysdale lent her broadcasting skills to softball, tennis, volleyball and soccer.</p><p>In September 2006, Meyers Drysdale was named general manager of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and vice president with the Phoenix Suns. She has helped guide the Mercury to two world titles in 2007 and 2009.</p><p>Simon is a new crop of female athletes; a senior guard with the Sun Devils, second-team All-Pac-10 member in 2009, and 2010-11 All-American candidate who has helped Arizona State to its two highest win totals (31 in 2006-07 and 26 in 2008-09) in program history. She will discuss her life as a student-athlete, and how basketball has shaped her life and her future.</p><p>“Basketball has definitely given women a chance to continue participating in a sport that was once considered a game for men only. The WNBA has opened doors for women that might have otherwise been closed,” Simon said. “As an African-American woman, I am thankful for such an opportunity; this allows me to continue doing what I love, which is playing the game of basketball.”</p><p>For directions, visit <a href=" http://nursingandhealth.asu.edu/contact/nursingbuildings.htm">http://nur... information on parking, visit <a href=" http://www.asu.edu/parking/pdf/map_downtown.pdf">http://www.asu.edu/park... more information, call (602) 496-0638 or visit <a href=" http://sls.asu.edu/lc/humanities/hls.html">http://sls.asu.edu/lc/humanit...