Prior to 2019, no player in Minnesota Lynx history had had their number retired by the organization and permanently hung in the Target Center rafters.
Around the time of Whalen’s jersey retirement, Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve mentioned that other members of the team’s dynasty run who were paired alongside Whalen and achieved a total of four WNBA titles — notably Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson, and Sylvia Fowles — would likely also have their jerseys retired at some point following their playing careers to join Whalen.
Last weekend, we found out that two of those names would have their jerseys forever hung in Target Center, when the Lynx announced they would simultaneously retire both Augustus’ and Brunson’s jerseys during the 2022 season.
“It will be an amazing moment to have both Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus honored when we can share this experience with more fans next season,” Reeve said in a statement released by the Lynx. “Both players were instrumental in the franchise’s historic run of four championships in seven seasons. I’m thrilled to know their numbers will soon join Lindsay’s in the rafters.”
Augustus, Brunson Joining Whalen
In 2022, Augustus and Brunson will become the second and third numbers to be retired in franchise history. Augustus’ No. 33 and Brunson’s No. 32 will join Whalen’s No. 13 as jerseys to never be worn by another player.
“I was excited when they hung Lindsay Whalen’s jersey up and I was excited for her to be able to have that honor. To now be in that same position, it’s another blessing,” said Brunson, who was supposed to have her jersey retired last year before it was postponed due to the season being played in the bubble in Florida. “I feel like we were all blessed to be able to compete and to go to battle here in this building with each other. Now to hang out with each other up in the rafters is pretty cool.”
The announcement came along with Augustus’ return to Minneapolis for the first time since leaving the organization last season to play and later serve as assistant coach for the Los Angeles Sparks. Although a pre-game recognition of Augustus was expected to take place at Target Center, a jersey retirement announcement for both her and Brunson caught some off guard. But it was a special moment shared between friends, former teammates and forever Lynx.
“The Minnesota Lynx organization, fans and community will always have a special place in my heart,” Augustus said. “I poured my soul into this city for 14 years and created incredible memories on and off the court. I’m proud to be a part of a group of women that delivered four championships and made history. I’m forever grateful to Los Lynx Nation and honored that my jersey will be in the rafters of the Target Center.”
It’s in no way a surprise to see Augustus and Brunson have their numbers retired, and they are not going to be the last players to have their jerseys retired in the coming years.
Next Up for Jersey Retirements
Now with Augustus and Brunson officially set to join Whalen as Lynx players to have their numbers retired, there are a few more that will also come in the coming years. First will be Moore and Fowles, whenever both of those players officially wrap up their playing careers.
Moore, who hasn’t played in the WNBA since 2018, was part of all four Lynx championships with Whalen, Augustus, and Brunson. Moore hasn’t announced any plans to retire, although it’s beginning to look like that be getting closer as time goes on.
Fowles, who joined the Lynx in 2015 after being traded from the Chicago Sky, was part of the 2015 and 2017 championship teams. She is taking part in her 14th WNBA season in 2021 and, although she is off to a stellar start to the 2021 campaign and hasn’t slowed down just yet, could be seeing her career come to a close in the coming years.
“I would be further blessed to have the opportunity to hang with them in the rafters of Our House, where so many battles were fought and so many memories were made,” Brunson said.
Outside of the obvious choices of Moore and Fowles, there likely won’t be any jersey retirements for a few years. But there could be one name worth keeping an eye on over the next 5-10 years to see how her career evolves and the success she might bring to the Lynx: Napheesa Collier.
Collier has the potential not only to be a headlining piece to lead Minnesota back into title contention, but she could end up winning an MVP award or more to add to her already impressive career resumé.