Lindsay Whalen is one of the greatest of all time. She is a face of women's basketball who will always directly be associated with greatness and loyalty. She is iconic to the game of basketball and especially to the state of Minnesota.
Early this week news broke of Whalen's retirement following the 2018 WNBA season. It was hardly a surprise as the 36-year-old was recently named the head coach at her beloved University of Minnesota this past spring. The new head coach as been juggling double duties at the helm of her program and leader of the Lynx as they aim for one more championship run.
Her legacy is remarkable. Her competitiveness is infectious. Her loyalty is endearing. The hometown hero has brought so much joy to so many fans across the world.
University of Minnesota
Lindsay Whalen is the University of Minnesota. She might actually be the state of Minnesota if you think about it, but that's beside the point. During her collegiate career from 2000-2004, she led the Gophers to three NCAA appearances and it's first ever Final Four in 2004. Prior to Whalen's arrival, Minnesota had only been to the NCAA tournament once.
She averaged 20.2 points per game during her four-year career, finishing as the Gophers' all-time leading scorer with 2,285 points. She holds records for scoring average, double-figure games, field goal attempts and percentage… and you get the point. Basically everything.
Whalen was a two-time Wade Trophy finalist in 2003 and 2004, held multiple unanimous Big Ten First Team selections, was a Kodak All-American and the NCAA Tournament Regional MVP in 2004. In 2005, the University of Minnesota retired her number 13.
Whalen was selected fourth overall in the first-round of the 2004 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. At the time, it was the highest any Big Ten player had been drafted. She led Connecticut to two consecutive trips to the WNBA Finals in 2005 and 2006 but they fell to Seattle and Sacramento.
In 2010, after six seasons with the Sun, she was traded to the Minnesota Lynx and the dynasty began. In 2011, Whalen led the Lynx to their first ever WNBA Championship. They would go on to win three more in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
In 2016 she was named one of the WNBA's Top 20@20 — the top 20 players in its 20 year existence.
Her 15-year WNBA career will go down as one of the best ever. She holds the record for regular season career wins at 322. She has 54 post-season wins under her belt, which is ranked second to her own teammate Rebekkah Brunson. She was the first ever WNBA player to surpass 5,000 points, 2,000 assists and 1,500 rebounds.
USA and International Competition
Whalen is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist from 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio. She earned gold in two World Championships in 2010 and 2014.
Whalen competed at the highest levels of overseas competition with stints at UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia, ZVVZ USK Prague, Galatasaray in Turkey, Dynamo Moscow and Yakin Dogu in Turkey.
As word broke of her retirement, fans and athletes all over the world congratulated Whalen on her career.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 13, 2018
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 13, 2018
The announcement of her retirement couldn't have been timed any better. The Minnesota Lynx complete their regular season on the road at Connecticut, where Whalen's career began and then at home as they host the Mystics before the start of playoffs. It's an incredible opportunity for Whalen to be celebrated and recognized.
Lindsay Whalen's playing career will always be remembered and greatly appreciated by many. The Lynx dynasty will get one more shot together with playoffs right around the corner. With that added motivation, I wouldn't be surprised if we see another great run or who knows? A championship? That would certainly one hell of an ending to an iconic career.
One thing is for certain. Lindsay Whalen is only getting started.