Diana Taurasi has never met a record she couldn’t break. On her way to becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time, she shattered the WNBA records for points, three pointers, and All-WNBA selections. She’s also got two Finals MVP awards, three WNBA rings—plus a college three peat at UConn—and five gold medals. This summer, she will set another record, becoming the first basketball player ever to participate in six Olympic games.

But what fans at home didn’t know was that the whole time Taurasi was conquering her sport, she was dealing with moderate-to-severe eczema. Now, in her 21st year in the WNBA, she’s speaking about it publicly for the first time. Along with pharmaceutical companies Sanofi and Regeneron, the 42-year-old Taurasi is helping raise awareness of a skin condition that one of every ten people live with in some form. These days, the Phoenix Mercury legend is no longer feeling the heavy burden of skin troubles. “It’s really simple: I just have clearer skin 1718720325 and I’m comfortable again,” Taurasi told GQ. “There’s nothing like that, especially when you live in Phoenix and the weather can directly affect the way your skin feels.”

Taurasi—whose first WNBA game came in 2004, the same year several of this year’s draftees were born—was also happy to share her thoughts on the league’s evolution, feeling slightly out of touch with her peers, and partying pre-smartphone.

Can you walk us through your experience with eczema? Why did you feel like now was the right time to talk about it publicly?

Eczema is something that I’ve had to live with for quite some time now. I really noticed it when I got to college. There’s nothing worse than having that red, itchy skin, especially when you’re playing basketball and you’re in a jersey the whole time. It was always on my mind.

That’s a good point. Everything is out in the open when you’re wearing a basketball jersey.

I think I was one of the first WNBA players to wear arm sleeves. It was illegal. I think it was the 2009 Finals, my arms were irritated and I wore the sleeves.

The WNBA didn’t allow sleeves at the time?

No, I think I got fined during the whole WNBA Finals. That’s my career in a nutshell.

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Taurasi and her arm sleeves during the 2009 Finals

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

So, you were hiding the eczema when you were playing basketball. Were you hiding it from friends and family in your day-to-day life?

People around me obviously knew because I would complain about it all the time. I was clearly so uncomfortable. Things like going to the pool or just going outside, I always had to check the weather. My most vivid memory—and I know this might sound very simple—but everyone would get out of the pool and just hang out. The minute I got out of the pool, I’d have to worry about my skin. Little things like that would affect my everyday life.

It was exhausting. It was just not how I should have been living my life. I should be able to do normal things without having to worry about eczema. I met with my dermatologist to talk about the risks and rewards, and Dupixent has given me so much relief. Skin is something you take for granted.

How long did it take you to actually seek treatment?

You always think it’s just going to go away. I got into my twenties and I was still trying all the lotions, the steroid creams, and it didn’t really give me the relief I needed. It’s been a long journey. There’s millions of people who go through the same thing. To share your story and know that there’s other people going through the same thing is pretty powerful. [I do] an on-site injection every two weeks. With any injection, there’s risk. But if you’re well-informed, it’s pretty cool.

You mentioned steroid creams. Were you worried about those setting off WNBA drug tests?

I mean, there’s so many things when it comes to that stuff, right? With steroid creams, it was just annoying that I had to do it every time I went to bed, something I had to think about all the time.

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