WESTWOOD—The women’s basketball practice court inside the new UCLA Mo Ostin Basketball Center will be named after UCLA legend Ann Meyers Drysdale.
On February 24, the UCLA Athletic Department announced that a significant contribution to the Mo Ostin Basketball Center was made by an anonymous donor, who requested to acknowledge the legacy of Ann Meyers Drysdale by naming the women’s basketball practice court in her honor, according to a UCLA press release sent to Canyon News.
“Time Magazine called Annie one of the ten greatest female athletes of all time. I know her as one of the ten greatest people of all time, “said Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero. “No UCLA student-athlete is more deserving of this honor – some as deserving perhaps, but none more.”
Guerrero added, “Annie helped rewrite the history of American sport, and now, thanks to the generosity and vision this philanthropy provides, generations of women who step inside the Mo Ostin Basketball Center will understand that at UCLA, anything is possible.”
Meyers Drysdale’s basketball career started when she became the first high school basketball player to make a United States national team in 1974. After finishing high school, she became the first women to receive a full athletic scholarship from UCLA. She was also the first UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame woman inductee, and with her husband, Dodger pitcher legend Don Drysdale, the first married couple to be inducted in their sports’ Hall of Fame.
“When Dan first gave me the news, I was quite literally at a loss of words,” said Meyers Drysdale. “I already considered UCLA home, and the people that compromise it family, but this takes it to a level beyond what I ever thought was possible.”
At 21 years old, Meyers Drysdale won a silver medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as a part of the U.S. women’s basketball team. In 1978, she led the Bruins to the AIAW women’s basketball national championship. As the No.1 draft pick in the Women’s Professional Basketball League, she made history by becoming the first and only woman to ever sign a free-agent contract with an NBA team. After playing for the Indiana Pacers, Meyers Drysdale was released during the preseason, but stayed with the team to serve as a color commentator, becoming the first woman to be on the call of an NBA game.
“I am thrilled about this on so many levels, “said UCLA women’s head basketball coach Cori Close. “Annie is a trailblazer. She has set the bar at such a high level for us to chase after, and she’s been a tremendous support to our program.
Close added, “To know we will have her legacy, one that is such a huge part of our program’s story, represented in the Mo Ostin Center forever, is incredibly meaningful to all the amazing women have laid the foundation for our success and found inspiration in her accomplishments.”
Meyers Drysdale, the mother of three, is currently serving as Vice President of the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury. She was previously General Manager of the Phoenix Mercury for five seasons.