Goodbye, Weezy: Lindsay Whalen Announces Retirement

Minnesota Lynx guard and WNBA legend Lindsay Whalen announced her retirement after 15 seasons. What a ride it’s been.

The first legendary domino in the WNBA has fallen.

Lindsay Whalen, one of the longest-tenured players among the currently active players in the WNBA, is retiring from the league after 15 seasons. The move is effective at the conclusion of the 2018 season, which means that the deeper the Minnesota Lynx go into the postseason, the longer we have to witness the greatness that is Whalen -- and to hold on to her just a little bit longer.

What else can be said about the 36-year-old Minnesota native that hasn’t already been said? Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Teammate. Leader. Consummate basketball player of any gender or level. Olympic gold medalist. Coach. Champion. Legend.

Whalen, who was named the head coach of the women’s basketball program at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, before the 2018 WNBA season began, will be concentrating full-time on those duties after her retirement.

That she managed to balance both her coaching duties and duties as the leader of a league dynasty chasing its fifth championship -- in addition to stints as a reporter for FOX Sports North, is a testament to her fortitude and ability to acknowledge the past, maintain her present, and set up her future.

Fans got a brief taste last week of what the starting lineup would be without Whalen’s familiar face when Whalen sat out two games for rest reasons; during one of those games, she was spied with a clipboard in her hand. When Whalen returned to the lineup, she came off the bench for the first time since her first WNBA game in May 2004. Even as she’s leaving, Whalen is trying to make the transition easier for everyone involved. That’s just her way, and it’s a way that players, staff, and fans alike have relied on for 14 years.

Don’t let the "Minnesota Nice" fool you; Whalen is one of the fiercest competitors in basketball, male or female, college or professional; her name rings out on the hardwood. 

Her court vision is one of the best available and she has an instinct of where a player is going to be so that she can feed them the ball.

Whalen gets big respect for her basketball acumen not only from her WNBA counterparts but from NBA players as well. Her fan base includes Jeff Teague, Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves legend Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James.

Whalen’s imminent departure leaves big shoes to fill; what she brings to the table will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace. But it’s not just about talent or leadership. Whalen returned to Minnesota and the Lynx in 2010, after six seasons with the Connecticut Sun.

Since 2010, she’s been by the sides of teammates Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson and under the tutelage of Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, who also arrived that year.

Maya Moore joined them a year later after being selected as the number-one overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft. The final head of the Lynx Starting Five Hydra, Sylvia Fowles, joined up in 2015.

That’s a long time to love someone.

Perhaps that will be Whalen’s biggest legacy as she plays her last regular-season home game in the Target Center on Sunday, August 19, in the final game of the 2018 regular season. To have touched the lives of so many, even if for the few seconds it takes to sign an autograph for a fan, is a definition of success that Whalen has embodied in both her personal and professional lives.

Being a quality person can’t be faked, and we are all the richer for it.

Goodbye, Weezy. You’ll be missed more than you could ever know.

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