I'm on vacation this week, but felt compelled to post a few comments about former WNBA star Marge Dydek, who died earlier today in Australia after suffering a heart attack a week ago.
The woman known affectionately around the the league as "Large Marge," stood 7-foot-2, finished her career as the WNBA's all-time leader in blocked shots, and confounded everyone around her with her reluctance to ... dunk. One of the nicest, most unassuming people in the game, Margo believed that dunking - which she would do with ease during warmups - humiliated her opponents. Her kindness probably was her biggest fault, in a competitive sense, because she never became the dominant figure that many predicted when she was drafted No.1 overall in 1998 by the Utah Starzz. I distinctly remember that Jerry Reynolds, the Monarchs general manager at the time, was desperately hoping Utah would draft Dydek so he could pluck Old Dominion point guard Ticha Penicheiro with the No.2 pick. They did. And he did. Ironically, Penicheiro led the Monarchs to the 2005 WNBA Championship in a compelling series against Dydek's Connecticut Sun. Margo was only 37 upon her death and coaching basketball when she was stricken a week ago. Compounding the sadness, she was pregnant with her third child.