After Phoenix Mercury teammates Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi got into a heated argument, Diggins-Smith is now listed as questionable.
Keeping a competitive edge on the court can often result in battles between players, but the rivalries are usually between teams, not on them.
It’s not often that teammates get in heated disagreements with one another, but when they do, it has the tendency to go viral.
When the Phoenix Mercury played the Las Vegas Aces, an argument erupted between Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith and legendary Mercury guard Diana Taurasi. The internet collectively leaned in to see what was the fight was about, but there were no clear answers, let alone audio.
So when Diggins-Smith was listed as “questionable” for the Mercury game against the Dallas Wings, the timing was a little suspect. WNBA reporter Lyndsey D’Arcangelo summed it up perfectly with a word: Hmm.
As WNBA fan Jesse Barush put it, she may as well be listed as “Questionable (Sick of DT).”
Skylar Diggins-Smith listed as “questionable” following Diana Taurasi argument
Professional athletes have made it clear that mental health affects their physical game, and the underlying theme in all discussions of the tension is the fact that Mercury center Brittney Griner remains detained by Russian police. Many WNBA athletes, including Diggins-Smith herself, have publicly expressed how the Griner situation is affecting them.
It’s also what Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard brought up when speaking about the incident following the team’s 86-74 loss to the Aces.
“People play sports with a lot of passion, and so we’ve seen it,” Nygaard said, per Jeremy Cuff of AZCentral. “We’re not the first team to have any kind of arguments or disagreements on the bench. We’ve seen it throughout the NBA and other leagues this season. The players, they play hard, they play with passion. This is their lives, this is the game that they love, and there’s a lot going on. Our team has even more going on with the BG situation too. That isn’t something that goes away for us. I would call it passion.”
As Nygaard said, tempers flare on the sideline in every sport, especially during a loss, but this Mercury team is collectively going through someone that most teams never experience. Taurasi, Diggins-Smith and Griner all won Olympic gold together this past summer, illustrating the chemistry these Mercury teammates have shared for years.
In April, Diggins-Smith spoke to FanSided about her longtime relationship with Griner, who was drafted alongside her and Elena Della-Donne as the top 3 picks in the 2013 WNBA Draft.
“Those are living legends, as I said, and future Hall of Famers, Olympians, and just two iconic people in sports period,” Diggins-Smith said. “Especially when it comes to women’s basketball, two of the best to ever pick it up, and who would have known?”
“I have a relationship obviously, BG and I, and our history there, and so it’s just been dope to see it kind of come full circle. And to see everybody kind of thriving still in their own avenues, in their own lanes, and really in their own paths. And that’s something that, watching the draft, you kind of see when you look back on it, everybody has a different path to how they get to where they are. Even all of us who started from similar places, we were able to navigate through a lot of adversity and still are navigating through it.”
Diggins-Smith hasn’t said anything directly about it, but reading into one of her retweets and her injury designation, it’s not unreasonable to think that this could be related to the situation surrounding the argument.
If the non-COVID illness is a reference to taking time away from the game — which athletes have done across the sports landscape — hopefully, Diggins-Smith will be able to return to play soon.