by Mychael Ramirez


Upping the Game
WNBA Icon & Mercury All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith Returns to Phoenix Suns Broadcasts

WNBA and NBA fans will get to see more of Mercury All-Star and 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist Skylar Diggins-Smith who is returning to Phoenix Suns broadcasts as analyst on the Suns Live! Presented by FanDuel pregame show on Bally’s Sports Arizona. Her next game will be tomorrow when the Suns take on the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:30 p.m. MT.

Her prominent basketball IQ and dynamic personality helped Diggins-Smith excel in her first season as a guest analyst, teamed with Suns broadcasters Tom Leander, Tom Chambers, Kevin Ray, Eddie Johnson and Ann Meyers-Drysdale throughout 2020-21.

For Leander, a staple of Suns broadcasts for more than two decades, he’s thrilled to have such an electric talent back on the air to provide thoughtful gameday breakdowns and to join in on-set banter.

“I have loved her knowledge and passion for the game and how quickly she fit in with TC (Tom Chambers and Eddie (Johnson) – I thought it was seamless,” said Leander. “She is very comfortable and able to dive into some great basketball topics while having some fun, because when you are talking pre- and post-game show, we’re about information and entertainment. And Skylar has comfortably moved into that role.”

Last season Diggins-Smith provided a unique perspective on Suns games and the team’s play, leaning on her own experiences playing at an elite level including teaming up with Mercury and WNBA All-Stars Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner.

Coming off an exciting WNBA Finals run and a gold medal trip to Tokyo as a member of Team USA Women’s Basketball Team, Diggins-Smith’s resume continues to grow, something Executive Producer Bob Adlhoch cannot wait to tap into.

“The thing I’m most excited about is to see her spread her wings, hitting different areas, more on-court instructional videos and breakdowns and bringing Suns players into the mix,” said Adlhoch.

That mutual respect the Suns roster has extended to Diggins-Smith since arriving in Phoenix and the way both the Suns and Mercury have supported one another on and off the court Is something Adlhoch wants to pull upon this season.

“Players are always willing to share a bit more with other players because they can relate. It won’t just be Skylar talking about her experience, but using her experience on the court at every level to bring out the best in what these Suns players have to say,” added Adlhoch.

Diggins-Smith is a part of a flourishing group of WNBA players analyzing the NBA. Last season, Mercury teammate Kia Nurse was part of the all-women broadcast team for a Toronto Raptors game during Women’s History Month, former Mercury player Kayte Christensen is a full time analyst for the Sacramento Kings, and Chicago Sky star Candace Parker has become a popular voice on TNT’s Inside the NBA. Their involvement exposes more basketball fans to the WNBA’s talent, while helping to eliminate sports broadcast stereotypes.

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