Ann Meyers Drysdale, a trailblazing figure in American women’s basketball, still reflects on the day she arrived at Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University. Riding in a car with three male basketball players, Drysdale felt out of place and intimidated as she entered new territory. It wasn’t a typical car ride, as the Indiana Pacers were holding tryouts to fill roster spots. Drysdale was the first woman to participate in tryouts for an NBA team and eventually signed a $50,000, no-cut contract, marking another first for a woman in 1979.
Despite her belief that she could make the team, Drysdale fell short and didn’t make the final roster. Over 40 years later, she is humble about her achievements. Drysdale’s place in women’s basketball is significant – she was the first player to make the U.S. national team while still in high school, a gold medalist at numerous events, and a pivotal figure in shaping the success of today’s prominent women’s basketball players.
Growing up in a sports-oriented family, Drysdale’s passion for basketball stemmed from her father, Bob, who played professionally in the 1940s. She excelled in numerous sports but eventually gravitated toward basketball, following in her brother’s footsteps to become an influential figure on the court. Her commitment to the sport led to her success, including her role in the first U.S. women’s basketball team to participate in the 1976 Olympic Games.
Drysdale’s journey to the Olympics was challenging, involving numerous grueling tryouts and tournaments. Despite the adversity, she remained resilient and worked hard to become a leader on and off the court. Her remarkable achievements, both in college and professional basketball, are a testament to her unwavering self-belief.
Her impactful contributions to the sport are evident in her notoriety as the first four-time All-American in collegiate women’s basketball. Although she was offered the opportunity to play professionally, Drysdale chose to remain an amateur and represent her country. Her commitment to representing Team USA was unwavering, making her an iconic figure in the sport.
Ann Meyers Drysdale’s journey is a testament to her tireless pursuit of success in the face of adversity. Her influence on women’s basketball has paved the way for future generations of players, proving that her legacy is immeasurable.
Rachel Adams is your WNBA insider, delivering comprehensive coverage of women’s basketball. With a commitment to highlighting the talent and achievements of WNBA players, she provides game analysis, player profiles, and inspiring stories from the league.