How can one sum up the career of Seimone Augustus and the impact the legend had on the Minnesota Lynx and the WNBA?
In 15 seasons, 14 of which came with the Lynx, the all-time great retired before the 2021 season as one of the most prolific basketball players of all time. Augustus made her mark on the WNBA and Minnesota while turning the Lynx around and giving it a new face. She obtained an endless amount of personal accolades and retired 10th in WNBA history in scoring (6,005), averaging 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
The No. 1 pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft went on to put together a legendary career with the Lynx, including:
- Four WNBA titles (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
- Eight All-Star appearances (2006, 2007, 2001, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
- Six All-WNBA team selections
- And three Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball (2008, 2012, 2016).
“Money Mone” also holds the franchise record in total points (5,881), field goals made (2,401), games played (370), games started (365) and minutes played (10,918).
When the Los Angeles Sparks come to Target Center on Sunday to face Minnesota for the first time this season, the Lynx legend and current Sparks assistant coach will receive the ultimate honor of becoming the second player in franchise history to have her jersey hung from the rafters. The Lynx will officially retire Augustus’ No. 33 jersey. It will join Lindsay Whalen’s No. 13 jersey already hanging in Target Center. Rebekkah Brunson will join Augustus and Whalen when they retire her No. 32 jersey on July 3.
“Minnesota knows they have a piece of my heart, they always will,” Augustus said after announcing her retirement in 2021. “I gave them everything for 14 years that I could give, and I felt that in return. … The great people, the melting pot of people, that I had the opportunity to enjoy and the opportunity to share great memories with. That’s what Minnesota ultimately was for me, it was home.”
In honor of a Lynx legend being recognized by having her jersey retired, let’s look back on just a few of the highlights from her accolade-filled career.
Fast Start To Her Career
Coming out of LSU after winning back-to-back Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year Awards in 2005 and 2006, the Lynx drafted Augustus first overall in the 2006 WNBA Draft. She put on a show in her rookie campaign.
Augustus led the Lynx while averaging 21.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 34 games in her rookie season. As a result, she won the 2006 Rookie of the Year award. She’s the second Minnesota player to do so and the first since Betty Lennox in 2000.
Little did Augustus know, that would be the first of many accolades.
Becoming The Face Of The Franchise
Not only did Augustus start her career off strong in Minnesota, but she quickly became the new face of the franchise for a Lynx team that desperately needed one. Whether it was her play on the court or her personality off of it, Augustus immediately won over the Minnesota fan base and basketball fans at large while standing at the center of the Lynx identity.
“Mone is the Lynx,” Augustus’ longtime teammate Sylvia Fowles said before Augustus made her first return to Target Center in 2021. “She’s been here since Day 1. She’s been here through the good, bad, and the ugly. … Anytime you think about the Minnesota Lynx, you can pretty much put Mone beside that.”
From 2006 to 2019, Augustus often led Minnesota offensively, averaging 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from three in 370 regular-season games (365 in which she started).
From being part of teams that were near the bottom of the WNBA standings and missing the postseason, to standing atop the league in the midst of a dynasty, Augustus was at the center of it all. Augustus and the Lynx franchise grew together into what it is today.
First Playoff Appearance, WNBA Title
For the first five years of her WNBA career, Augustus hadn’t experienced playing in the playoffs. Minnesota averaged 12.6 wins per year out of 34 regular-season games.
In 2011, after the Lynx drafted Maya Moore No. 1 overall, they reached the postseason for the first time since 2004. They didn’t look back from there, reaching the playoffs every year since that 2011 campaign.
“I just remember looking across the room, and I had Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, and we didn’t know what training camp was going to look like,” Augustus said of that 2011 team when she reflected on her career in 2021. “I remember after the first day of practice, and we busted the practice guys’ ass, we were like ‘oh yeah, it’s on.’ We clicked immediately.
“We went on that ride and even when we got to the All-Star break, people did not believe the Lynx were any good. … After we came out of the All-Star break, we hit another level. When we got to the playoffs, that was the first playoffs I’ve ever been to in my career. … I was looking around the room thinking ‘we didn’t just make the playoffs, we might be the champions this year.’”
The first appearance in the postseason was memorable for Augustus for many reasons. The Lynx claimed the WNBA title that season, sweeping the Atlanta Dream 3-0 for the franchise’s first championship.
Augustus put together an All-Star worthy season after an abdominal surgery that year. She also won Finals MVP in 2011, averaging 24.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 35.5 minutes per game in the three Finals games.
That season not only signified the first of many successful playoff stretches for Augustus and the Lynx, but it was also the start of what would become a dynasty in Minnesota in the following years.
Four WNBA Titles, Three Olympic Gold Medals
Breaking into the playoffs in 2011 was the start of an impressive run for the Lynx and Augustus. She would end up adding more trophies and medals to her resume from that point on, and she’s now one of the more decorated players in WNBA history.
After the title in 2011, Augustus helped Minnesota appear in five more championship series. The Lynx coming out on top as league champions in 2013, 2015, and 2017 to bring the ring total to four for the franchise.
Along with her success in the WNBA, Augustus also had success on the global stage. In 2016, Augustus took part in what would be her final Olympic Games, representing the USA for the third time in her playing career. After claiming a Gold Medal in the 2016 Olympic Games, Augustus recorded her third Gold Medal to add to her trophy case.
Securing Individual Milestones
Outside of championships and awards won during her playing career, Augustus earned individual recognition and milestones come her way during her 15-year career in the league.
During the WNBA’s 20th season in 2016, the league named 20 players as its Top 20 Players of All Time and placed Augustus on that exclusive list. The group recognized and honored 20 of the WNBA’s most influential players from the first 20 years of the league’s existence.
A few years later in 2020, Augustus’ final season in the WNBA, she passed the 6,000-point mark in her career against the Washington Mystics, becoming the 10th player in WNBA history to reach that milestone. She would also end up passing Tina Charles on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list that season, moving into the top 10 in history.
Augustus was the franchise’s leader in points (5,881) and games played (370) over 14 seasons in Minnesota when she left the Lynx.
Augustus’ impact on the Lynx, the WNBA, and the basketball world spreads far beyond just the accolades and accomplishments she had during her playing career. She helped turn Minnesota’s franchise around, gave it a new face and voice, and became a Lynx legend along the way.
Now in 2022, with her playing career officially over, Augustus is receiving the ultimate honor of having her jersey retired by Minnesota. An honor and recognition that is certainly deserved for all she has done to the franchise over the years.