'The Spy Who Signed Me': ESPN Podcast Explores Diana Taurasi's Experience Playing In Russia

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 12:40pm

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Diana Taurasi
Phil Latzman/KJZZ
Diana Taurasi

Salaries for WNBA players have increased a bit since the league tipped off nearly 25 years ago, but the average still lingers in the five-digit range and the top figure isn’t much more than $100,000.

Contrast that with the average NBA salary of more than half a million dollars, and you’ll understand why many WNBA players — even some of the biggest stars — play overseas in places like Russia and Turkey to earn more cash.

Sometimes, though, joining one of those European teams can bring very interesting surprises.

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi — to some, the greatest player in league history — ran into quite a stunner a decade ago when she signed with a Russian team owned by Shabtai Kalmanovich, the extremely mysterious multimillionaire.

That’s the tale told in one of ESPN’s new "30 for 30" podcasts. It’s called "The Spy Who Signed Me," and it highlights the experiences Taurasi and teammate Sue Bird had.

Keith Romer is the reporter and producer behind the podcast, and he joined the Show to talk about it.

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