Ann Meyers Drysdale was an innovator who opened doors for women both on and off the court. She made history when she became the first female player ever awarded a full athletic scholarship from UCLA coach John Wooden; today, she holds memberships in 20 Halls of Fame.
She continues to push boundaries as a sportscaster, appearing on every national network and serving as vice president of Phoenix Mercury of WNBA.
Early Life and Education
Ann Meyers Drysdale, as the first female professional basketball player, was an early pioneer for women in sports. Family life also played a huge part of her life – she was married to legendary baseball pitcher Don Drysdale from 1986 until his death in 1993.
Raised in an environment rich with sports, she was introduced to athleticism at an early age through her older brother Dave who competed at Marquette University and went on to join Milwaukee Shooting Stars of the American Basketball Association after college graduation.
Meyers made history when she became the first woman ever to tryout for an NBA team when she signed with Indiana Pacers and participated in three-day series of tryouts with them in 1979. Although she did not make the final roster, this experience gave Meyers confidence and she later pursued broadcasting as her career path.
Ann Meyers Drysdale is an accomplished former professional basketball player and sports broadcaster, boasting an illustrious career in both fields.
After graduating from Sonora High School, she earned a four-year athletic scholarship to UCLA where she became the Bruins’ inaugural national champion in women’s basketball – as well as playing on their Olympic team that won silver! Later she played for New Jersey Gems of Women’s Pro Basketball League before retiring as co-MVP.
After her playing career ended, she transitioned into television color analysis, working for numerous networks. She has covered three Summer Olympic Games since 2008. Additionally, she currently holds positions as president/general manager of Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) and vice president for Suns (NBA).
Achievement and Honors
Meyers Drysdale was an innovator in women’s basketball, opening doors for many female players who currently dominate. As one of her achievements as both player and broadcaster, she received multiple honors, awards, and induction into various halls of fames, such as Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a first female member as well as becoming one of FIBA’s Basketball Hall of Fame charter members.
She was honored with both UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame membership and California High School Sports Hall of Fame election. Additionally, in 2022 she received the NCAA’s Gerald R. Ford Award which recognizes outstanding service rendered to college sports.
As well as her basketball career, she has also served as a sports commentator for ESPN and NBC. Furthermore, she serves on the board of Lott IMPACT Trophy — an annual honor given out for college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player.
Ann Meyers Drysdale continues to lead in women’s basketball as she approaches her 68th birthday, acting as an influential and inspiring figure within the industry. A tireless philanthropist, Ann has since left playing to focus on developing women’s basketball through advocacy.
Drysdale was raised in San Diego, California among an active sporting family. She would watch her siblings compete in various athletic competitions while being inspired by multi-sport athletes like Wilma Rudolph and Wyomia Tyus – two track and field stars whom Drysdale idolized as children.
Her achievements as both a college and professional basketball player earned her numerous honors, such as being recognized with membership into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. Don Drysdale (deceased), was her husband (he died of heart failure in 1993) as well as mother to two children from their marriage.
Ann Meyers Drysdale has established herself as an accomplished sports broadcaster and women’s basketball executive through hard work and wise decisions. Additionally, she actively contributes to charitable endeavors through her various interests.
She has been an invaluable pioneer of women’s basketball and her contributions are immeasurable. For this she has received multiple honors and accolades during her time on the court.
She is an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and continues to break boundaries as a sports broadcaster. Married to Hall-of-Famer baseball pitcher Don Drysdale, she currently serves as president and general manager for Phoenix Mercury of WNBA while providing color analysis on NBA and ESPN broadcasts.