Lindsay Whalen was back at Target Center for a Minnesota Lynx game Saturday, but not as a player. Instead, she was there as an honored guest during a ceremony to permanently retire the Hutchinson native’s No. 13.
“Thanks for a great ride,” Whalen told fans and former teammates. “It was great today to see (the fans) and supporting as always and it was a lot of fun.”
Whalen retired last August after 15 seasons in the WNBA, nine with the Lynx. She won four championships in Minnesota and her number is the first to be retired in team history.
The afternoon featured the return of former teammates, current Lynx players wearing Whalen warm-up shirts, and an emotional tribute video. Not to mention the nearly 9,000 fans in attendance holding Whalen signs and wearing her apparel, making their appreciation for her work known.
Whalen currently ranks fourth in points scored (3,233) in team history, third in field goals made (1,217), fourth in free throws made (716), fifth in defensive rebounds (800) and first in assists (1,394). She is the winningest player in team history.
“Her jersey is in the rafters because she is a winner,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I’ve had so many — this is my 10th season now — people that have said they are following women’s basketball because of Lindsay Whalen.”
Whalen joined late Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Sealy and late Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders as the only people to have their names in the rafters of Target Center.
Her No. 13 was also retired by the University of Minnesota Gophers women’s basketball program in January 2005. Whalen, who now coaches the Gophers, helped Minnesota to its lone Final Four appearance in school history in 2004. She also won two Olympic Gold Medals with Team USA in 2012 and 2016.
“I always tried to represent (Minnesota) on the court as much as I could as a player and do my best,” Whalen said.