Minnesota retires jersey of rebounding ace Sylvia Fowles, helped Lynx win 2 WNBA titles

Published 9:05 am Monday, June 12, 2023

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sylvia Fowles has always deflected praise to others. The Minnesota Lynx great couldn’t escape the spotlight as the team retired her jersey Sunday night.

The jersey retirement ceremony capped off a reunion weekend for the Lynx, who honored the 25 greatest players in franchise history, including Fowles, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson.

“It’s hard because I typically don’t talk about myself. I am the way I am because of the people in my life,” Fowles said. “It’s about me, but I wouldn’t be the same without those people helping me along the way.”

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Now her No. 34 jersey hangs with all of them except Moore, whose number will likely be retired in the future.

“I never been one to chase goals, chase many records,” Fowles said. “To see who I’m next to in the rafters, it’s a big thing that I’ve done my job.”

The 6-foot-6 center won titles in 2015 and 2017 and earned WNBA Finals MVP honors both times. Fowles retired after last season.

She was drafted second by the Chicago Sky in 2008 before being traded midway through the 2015 season to the Lynx. Fowles spent the final eight years of her 15-year career with Minnesota.

“To lose half a season because you felt so strongly about being a Lynx,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “That says quite a bit and that it started when she made that determination, and then her actions, her words, everything is exemplified that to the nth degree. … She’s been everything we hoped for and then some.”

She finished her career as the WNBA’s all-time rebounding leader with 4,007. She holds the league record for double-doubles (193) and was the MVP in 2017.

“I don’t know of a more dominant player who’s as sweet as pie,” Moore said during the retirement ceremony.

Fowles was named the league’s defensive player of the year four times and was an eight-time All-Star. She also helped the U.S. win four Olympic gold medals.

On Sunday, the team that she helped turn into a dynasty pulled off its first home win of the season, 91-86 over the Los Angeles Sparks. Minnesota rallied from a late 11-point deficit.