Lindsay Whalen has been a cornerstone athlete for the state of Minnesota. Not only was she born and raised there, but she also stayed local for college by attended the University of Minnesota. After a stand out a career with the Gophers, Whalen was drafted by Connecticut in 2004.
But now, the Lynx point guard has announced her playing days are officially over. Once Minnesota’s year is concluded, Whalen will step away from the court as a player.
“I would like to announce that after 15 seasons in the WNBA I am going to retire after the 2018 season,” Whalen said. “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.”
Whalen leaves the league as its all-time winningest player with 322 victories under her belt. She still has a chance to add to that number with three regular season games remaining.
Whalen has only played for Cheryl Reeve and Mike Thibalt in the WNBA. Both coaches gave their congratulations to Whalen as she wraps up her career.
“At season’s end Lindsay Whalen will retire as the winningest point guard in the history of the WNBA,” Reeve said in a press release. “I feel so fortunate to have been on the sidelines for so many of her wins. Lindsay’s will to win made her special, along with always putting her team and teammates first. I will always cherish the times we spent together over the last eight years bringing championships to her home state of Minnesota.”
Congrats Lindsay Whalen on a Hall of Fame career. A great pleasure to coach you and an honor to coach against you. You brought the best out of your teammates and your opponents!! You will be missed. Glad you will still be in my life going forward!
— Mike Thibault (@coachthibault) August 13, 2018
Behind her leadership, the Lynx brought home four championships – a league record tied with the now debunked Houston Comets. In her 280 games in a Lynx uniform, Whalen averaged 11.5 ppg (on 47.0% shooting), 3.5 RPG and 4.9 APG. Overall in her career (477 games), Whalen holds averages of 11.5 ppg (on 46.1% shooting), 3.8 rpg and 4.9 apg.
A true point guard in the game, the Minnesota All-Star will finish her career ranked third in career assists. She sits behind Sue Bird and Ticha Penicheiro. However, Whalen is Minnesota’s franchise leader in assists, second in games played, and fourth in scoring history.
Whalen’s accolades don’t stop there, though. In her 15 seasons, she has appeared in five All-Star games, 13 playoff appearances, and eight WNBA Final appearances. She also helped Team USA win gold medals at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016. She’s a proven winner who has helped keep Minnesota competitive since she has been with the team.
If there is one thing Whalen knows how to do is win. Her career has been decorated with winning. Even LeBron James has taken notice of her winning in her long tenure in the game.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 13, 2018
It won’t only be the fans and head coach Reeve to miss Whalen on the court, but also Glen Taylor, the owner of the Lynx and Minnesota Timberwolves:
“It has been a privilege and honor to watch Lindsay lead our team to four championships. Throughout her 15-year WNBA career, she has represented the state of Minnesota with class and dignity and thrilled fans ever since she stepped onto the floor at the University of Minnesota. Lindsay is Minnesota women’s basketball and we congratulate her on an amazing WNBA career and look forward to following her in her next endeavor.”
As stated before, it wasn’t only Minnesota where Whalen played. She also played for the Connecticut Sun to start her career until she was traded in 2010. She left her mark there as well, and President of the WNBA Lisa Borders knows she had an influence playing for both franchises.
“Lindsay Whalen will always be remembered as one of the greatest players and winners in the history of our league. Her impact was immediate, leading the Connecticut Sun to the Finals in each of her first two seasons before going on to become a four-time champion with the Minnesota Lynx. A five-time All-Star and two-time gold medal winner, Lindsay will finish her remarkable career with the most regular-season wins in league history. I wish Lindsay continued and compelling success as she continues to inspire the next generation of female athletes at the University of Minnesota.”
The good news for Minnesota locals is Whalen will still be in the state. Earlier this year she was hired as the new women’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota. She will be entering her first season this fall. Whalen already has been wearing two hats this summer not only as a player in the top league in the world, but also coaching at a Division 1 school.
Earlier today, Whalen and Reeve appeared online at Lynxbasketball.com/live and on television on NBA TV at 1:30 pm CT to speak on the retirement news.
Yet, even more fitting, with the regular season coming to a close, Whalen will make one more trip to Connecticut — where her WNBA career started, and will follow that game up with a home game against the Washington Mystics.
James and Thibault weren’t the only individuals to give praise to Whalen today as she closes one door and enters another. Former WNBA players Tamika Catchings, Rebecca Lobo, and Penicheiro acknowledged her news. Former Minnesota Timberwolves players, Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love, showed love too, along with others.
YOU…ARE…SIMPLY…AMAZING!! Thanks for the memories Whay @Lindsay_13! Welcome to the"other side" ???????? ???????? #LoveMyTeammates❤ #Respect #Champion #Olympian #Winner #Inspire #IMPACT #FOCUS #ChangingLives #SoBlessed pic.twitter.com/9HRug5UlqS
— Tamika Catchings (@Catchin24) August 13, 2018
As you announce your retirement today, I wanted to say THANK YOU for all you did, do and will continue to do for the game we both love!! From point guard to point guard, you will always be… https://t.co/99aM1x9nVx
— Ticha Penicheiro (@TichaPenicheiro) August 13, 2018
— Rebecca Lobo (@RebeccaLobo) August 13, 2018
— KG's Area 21 (@KGArea21) August 13, 2018
Was a pleasure watching you play in Minnesota!!! Finishes strong and can’t wait to see what’s next. ???????????????? https://t.co/2vsNEKFpy3
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) August 13, 2018
Congrats to @Lindsay_13 on your retirement! All athletes could learn something from your determination & work ethic. It will be fun to watch you bring that leadership to the coaches bench for the @GopherWBB! Enjoy the rest of the ride! #Legend #LindsayWhalen #WNBA #LosLynx
— Phill Drobnick (@CoachPhill) August 13, 2018
— Angel Gray (@Angel_Gray1) August 13, 2018
Managing Editor of The Ball Out.