One of the most popular professional athletes in Minnesota sports history is calling it a career.
Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen announced Monday morning that she will be retiring following the conclusion of the 2018 WNBA season.
“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 release sent out by the team Monday morning. “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, a Hutchinson, Minn., native, will exit the WNBA as the winningest player in league history, breaking that record during the 2017 season. She will finish her career as the Lynx franchise leader in assists, while ranking second in games played and fourth in scoring. She holds the single-season franchise record for assists (199 in 2011) and the franchise record for most assists in a single game (14 on Sept. 4, 2013).
Along with four WNBA titles, Whalen has appeared in six All-Star games, has made 13 playoff appearances, reached eight WNBA Finals and won two Olympic Gold Medals with Team USA in 2012 and 2016. Whalen currently ranks third in WNBA history in assists, trailing Sue Bird and Ticha Penicheiro.
“At season’s end, Lindsay Whalen will retire as the winningest point guard in the history of the WNBA,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said in the 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.”
In the offseason, Whalen was announced as the new women’s basketball head coach at the University of Minnesota, her alma mater. Since that point, she has been trying to balance both coaching a Division I program and playing in the WNBA in hopes of bringing another WNBA championship to Minnesota.
In a conversation with Zone Coverage prior to the 2018 season, Whalen said she would take the season “day-by-day, practice-by-practice” before deciding what she would do beyond this summer. On Monday, Whalen made it official – this will be her final season in the WNBA.
“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,” WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement. “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.”
Whalen and the Lynx, who enter Tuesday’s game against Chicago at 17-14, will head back to the postseason in hopes of defending their title beginning Aug. 21.