It was pretty obvious to even casual observers that Lindsay Whalen was playing her last games with the Minnesota Lynx.
She’s not a kid anymore and, besides, she’s got a full-time gig as coach of the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team. That squad has been touring Italy; she wasn’t with them because of her games with the Lynx.
— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) June 29, 2018
Today, Whalen announced she’s retiring.
“I would like to announce that after 15 seasons in the WNBA I am going to retire after the 2018 season,” Whalen said in a statement. “I would like to thank the WNBA, the Connecticut Sun, and the Minnesota Lynx for believing in me all of these years. I look forward to the next chapter in my basketball career and wish my Lynx coaches and teammates all of the best in the future.”
She’ll have a news conference this afternoon.
— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) August 13, 2018
Whalen deserves her spot as one of the most beloved athletes in Minnesota history, not just for her athletic achievements, but because it was obvious she had a compass unique in the world of professional athletes.
Yesterday’s decision by the Lynx not to start Whalen was bittersweet, portending what was to come today, and, in a way, taking away from Whalen’s moment.
She came off the bench for the first time since 2004.
“We talked quite a bit yesterday, we talked on the phone a lot,’’ Whalen said of her conversations with coach Cheryl Reeve. “We talked for a while, then we talked this morning. Obviously it’s not a decision [Reeve] came by easily. She put a lot of thought into it and she’s got to do what’s best for the team, and I want to do what’s best for the team.’’
We get it. Reeve wants to win. Whalen does, too. It feels, though, as if she deserved better.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 13, 2018