Behind the Custom Jackets 25 WNBA Greats Received in Honor of League's 25th Anniversary Finals

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WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announces Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm as a Top 25 WNBA Greatest of All Time during the Phoenix Mercury game against the Chicago Sky Game One of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 10, 2021 at Footprint in Phoenix
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announces Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm as a Top 25 WNBA Greatest of All Time during the Phoenix Mercury game against the Chicago Sky Game One of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 10, 2021 at Footprint in Phoenix

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Sue Bird

Twenty-five years of basketball icons now have the gear to highlight their GOAT status.

The WNBA honored its top 25 players in honor of its milestone season during Game 1 of the league's Finals on Sunday. The ceremony happened as the Chicago Sky took on the Phoenix Mercury, with the former ultimately victorious, 91-77.

After the first quarter, athletes including Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart were honored with custom letterman-style jackets, all of which featured patches highlighting their careers.

Taurasi was ultimately named as the single-player who is the GOAT, as voted on by fans through WNBA.com, the WNBA App and Twitter in September. Fans could vote for any player among the 25 named the greatest in WNBA history by a panel of media members and women's basketball leaders.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announces Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm as a Top 25 WNBA Greatest of All Time during the Phoenix Mercury game against the Chicago Sky Game One of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 10, 2021 at Footprint in Phoenix
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announces Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm as a Top 25 WNBA Greatest of All Time during the Phoenix Mercury game against the Chicago Sky Game One of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 10, 2021 at Footprint in Phoenix

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Sue Bird and Cathy Engelbert

Among the patches on Taurasi and the other athletes' jackets are one unique embellishment, designed by Emma McKee of Stitch Gawd. McKee tells PEOPLE about coming up with the perfect patches to honor the stories of some of the best athletes in the world.

What was the design process like for the patches?

Fast! I didn't have much time if we had a chance of getting into production — so I tried to attack it pragmatically. What can I get done at the highest quality that will best show my team's skill and honor the recipients most? What you see is where we ended up.

WNBA
WNBA

Steven Freeman/WNBA Breanna Stewart's jacket

WNBA jackets
WNBA jackets

Steven Freeman/WNBA Sue Bird's jacket

How did you draw inspiration from each player?

I watched a lot of highlight reels, some older games, read lots of articles and just tried to get a sense of each woman. I learned a ton, and the more I learned the more in awe I became!

How did you focus your art on telling a story of the honored athlete?

The way I always do: to be honest, I'm never really sure where the rubber meets the road — but it is always when I am inspired by the person. That is the key piece, I only am able to make things for people I am inspired by.

What impresses you the most about these athletes?

Honestly, it is different for every player. I am impressed by Diana Taurasi's tenacity, how she leaves it on the court. I am impressed by Candace Parker's swag. I am impressed by the sheer number of awards and accolades. I am impressed that Sheryl Swoopes was the first woman to have her own shoe deal. Honestly, they are all trailblazers in their own right, all different and all impressive.

WNBA jackets
WNBA jackets

Steven Freeman/WNBA

Do you have a favorite patch you designed?

I love the custom player patches — Tina Thompson specifically, I just think the red lipstick is so iconic. I also love the oversized chenille lady on the front. I think it is so fun and nostalgic, and I haven't really seen that done before.

The 2021 WNBA Finals continue on Wednesday in Phoenix.