The Lisa Leslie Award
In the summer of 1997, the sport of women's basketball received another much-needed shot in the arm with the launch of the Women's National Basketball Association. The Los Angeles Sparks, the latest addition to the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown, landed Lisa Leslie from the University of Southern California. Leslie was the perfect match for the Hollywood set, blending beauty and grace with strength and athleticism like no one before. An eight-time All Star and two-time world champion, Leslie became the face of the WNBA. As she solidified her spot as the dominant center stateside, her stock rose with her success on the international stage, where she won four gold medals in Olympic competition. In 2002, Leslie gave Sparks fans a reason to get out of their seats when she became the first player to dunk in a WNBA game and then led the Sparks to the franchise's second championship, winning her second Finals MVP. The three-time league MVP retired as the all-time leading rebounder in WNBA history and was an eight-time First Team All-WNBA performer.