40 greatest female athletes: Lisa Leslie!

“I always felt like the biggest honor was to represent our country,” Lisa Leslie says. “The desire to not lose was so strong, almost stronger than the desire to win, if that makes sense.”

ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.

As a senior at Morningside (Inglewood, Calif.), Lisa Leslie once scored 101 points. In the first half. The other team never even bothered to come out for the second half.

After high school, the No. 5 woman in ESPN’s countdown became a three-time All-American at USC, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and a three-time WNBA MVP.

“Once I realized you get a trophy if you win, I thought, this is awesome! I got so many, I could fill my house with them,” she says. “But the rewards are having the opportunity to be a role model, to travel the world. It was an honor to play this sport.”

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