Lindsay Whalen’s retirement announcement this week came as a shock to much of the basketball world, even to those who saw this coming. Her departure from WNBA courts signals the end of an era that goes beyond the dynastic reign of the Minnesota Lynx.
Whalen’s retirement reminds us that even players who thus far have managed to keep Father Time at a distance — the Sue Birds, the Diana Taurasis, the Rebekkah Brunsons — will one day decide the time has come to call it a career. And when all of the present-day legends move along, a particular era of dominance will be relegated to the history books.
Sure, younger players will establish themselves as legends-in-the-making, creating new memories for years to come for fans and for the annals of basketball history. But the coaches, teammates and fans left behind will never stop feeling like a dear friend has moved away when a legendary player leaves the game, especially while still competing at a high level as is the case with Whalen.
Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve cried her way through Whalen’s retirement news conference on Monday, while Whalen seemed relieved — upbeat, even — signalling that she perhaps had come to terms with this decision well before the announcement.
As a player, Whalen has always been a tough competitor and a class act. But she is modeling a new kind of courage by retiring from the game on her own terms, still at the top as reigning 2017 WNBA champion and set to compete in the 2018 WNBA Playoffs, with the following achievements to her credit:
- the all-time winningest WNBA player
- third in WNBA history in assists
- a six-time All-Star
- having made 13 playoff appearances
- having competed in eight WNBA Finals
- a four-time WNBA champion
- a two-time Olympic gold medalist
- the first player in WNBA history to notch 5,000 points, 2,000 assists and 1,500
Celebrate Lindsay Whalen’s legendary basketball career with this one-of-a-kind BreakingT shirt!
It is an officially licensed WNBA Player’s Association product, with a portion of sales going directly to the player, allowing you to support Lindsay Whalen in more ways than one.