Taurasi purchased 333 seats for every Mercury home game and will have them passed out to fans on a first-come, first-served basis.
The 6-foot shooting guard, considered one of the top three WNBA players of all time, picked the number of seats to pay homage to her number 3 jersey.
“We have the best fans in the league, and I know how important they have been every time we’ve won a championship,” Tuarasi said in statement released by the Mercury. “This is my way of helping to get people in the arena.”
The Mercury led the WNBA in ticket sales and wins last season, drawing an average of 9,557 people each game. But the women still get roughly half the fan support as the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
After leading the team to a championship in 2014, Taurasi, a three-time Olympic gold medal winner, announced in February that she would sit out the 2015 season at the request of her Russian Premier League team, UMMC Ekaterinburg. The club team offered to pay her more than her WNBA salary (reportedly $107,000 a season) to take this year off. UMMC Ekaterinburg pays Taurasi $1.5 million a season.
Taurasi’s confident the Mercury will be okay without her.
“I know we have a legitimate shot to win the whole thing again this year,” she said.
Today's game starts at 7 p.m. Fans may claim up to four tickets per person, courtesy of Taurasi, at the US Airways Center Plaza beginning at 4:30 p.m.