One of the true pioneers in women’s basketball, Hall of Famer and award-winning broadcaster Ann Meyers Drysdale enters her fifth season as Vice President of both the Phoenix Mercury and the Phoenix Suns in 2019. The role follows five successful seasons as General Manager for the Mercury where she constructed the franchise’s first two WNBA championship teams in 2007 and 2009. As Vice President of the Mercury in 2014, she saw the team win the third WNBA title in franchise history. She recently completed her sixth season as a television broadcaster for the Mercury and is in her seventh season on the Suns television broadcast team alongside Steve Albert.
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, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. She also had a stint as a broadcaster for the1988-89 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 June of 2014, Meyers Drysdale was awarded the Dick Enberg Award by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The Dick Enberg Award, named for the world renowned and legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster, is presented annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America Teams Program and/or the student-athlete while promoting the values of education and academics.
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 2012 to honor her impact in the sport. Current Mercury center Brittney Griner won the award in 2013.
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.
The NCAA Honors Committee honored her in 2003 with the NCAA Silver Anniversary award. The Silver Anniversary Award recognizes former student-athletes who have distinguished themselves since completing their college athletics careers 25 years ago.
Meyers Drysdale was a member of the inaugural class of inductees into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and she became the first American woman to be inducted into the FIBA (International Basketball Association) Hall of Fame when she was enshrined in 2007.
In January of 2017, Drysdale was named the recipient for the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women's Basketball award, which is presented annually to an individual whose extraordinary efforts have made contributions of outstanding significance and have created a long-lasting positive impact on the game basketball. She was presented with the award at the annual Naismith Awards brunch during the men's Final Four weekend in Phoenix.
In honor and recognition of her standout collegiate career, UCLA Athletics announced In March that they would be naming the practice court for the women's basketball team the 'Ann Meyers Drysdale Court.' Additionally, UCLA named Meyers Drysdale the winner for this year's Professional Achievement for the UCLA Alumni Awards, which is awarded to honor the very best of UCLA and pay tribute to alumni and friends in their professions and service to UCLA and the community.
In January of 2019, Meyers Drysdale was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame during the 28th Annual SCSB Awards Luncheon. She became the first woman ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, while it also marked the first time a husband and wife received the honor, as her late husband, Don Drysdale, had already been inducted.
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 in1975.
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.