Asia Durr was born on April 5, 1997. She was exactly 11 weeks old when the first WNBA game tipped on June 21, 1997, and is now 22, and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, heading to play for the New York Liberty.
“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a kid,” Durr says now — a fact that, in her case, is obvious. Few prospects better exemplify the archetypal “student of the game”: the 5’10 guard’s style and efficiency are a product of intense, relentless study and practice. It’s a good thing the WNBA has existed Durr’s whole life, because she has no idea what she’d be doing without it.
“I was just talking to someone about this last week, and I really don’t even know,” she explains when asked what she’d want to pursue as a career if she didn’t play basketball. “I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t play.”
Growing up in the Atlanta suburb of Douglasville, Durr was consumed by basketball early on — the WNBA was on her mind starting when she was just five years old, she says now, but she mostly played against boys who better matched up with her on-court precociousness. “I want to be one of the best players in the world,” she told Bleacher Report last year, a mission spurred by watching the Atlanta Dream and particularly fellow Louisville alum Angel McCoughtry.
Ask Durr for her favorite WNBA player though, and you’ll get an answer that reveals the true extent of her basketball nerddom: WNBA point guard Ivory Latta. “She was my all-time favorite player growing up,” says Durr. “I wore number 12 because of her — I looked up to her. I was just so excited every time I got to see her play.” Like Durr, what set Latta apart was her finesse: brutal crossovers and slick footwork that allowed the 5’6 guard to drive to the basket and make space for deep threes.
watching asia durr film and would just like to share this absurd stepback with everybody pic.twitter.com/nhItxQCnJq— jack (@jackhaveitall) April 1, 2019
The paradox of Durr, though, is that for all her appreciation and refinement of basketball’s flashier plays — and her status as a scorer above all else, averaging 21 points per game this season — she’s not particularly demonstrative on the court (beyond demonstrating how many different ways she can get the ball in the hoop).
“I think I don’t get enough credit for the way I can distribute the ball, and get it to my teammates,” Durr says, adding that her steadily improving assist/turnover ratio (currently it’s 1.81) is the stat she’s most proud of. “Obviously, it’s probably because I shoot the ball so much and that’s my role — but whenever I have to get the ball to my teammates because I have three people on me, I’m able to do that.”
Incredible play by Asia Durr here. She sees Jazmine Jones is open for a backdoor before Jaz does, so she hangs in the air long enough for Jaz to see it and make the cut. pic.twitter.com/FO4nfuSeOz— Go Cards, Beat Purdue (@beatpurdue) March 31, 2019
Before she enters the league, Durr — as ever — has a plan to get even better: add weight, refine new skills, get ready to start once again from square one as a rookie. But the mission is the same: “I want to compete at the highest level,” she says. “I’m excited just to have another chance to play.”
Get to know Asia Durr
Pregame warmup song: Lil Baby ft. Meek Mill, “Time”
Favorite NBA player: I really love James Harden, how he can get his shot off literally without trying. It’s pretty crazy.
Most used app: Instagram or Apple Music. “I like this account called ‘Spiritual Inspiration’ — it gives inspirational quotes and stuff like that.”
Cats or dogs: Dogs. She has a toy poodle named Precious.