Foreword: Sylvia Fowles announced her retirement when she signed a one year contract with the Minnesota Lynx and she said it was her final season. This post is dedicated to her and her soon to be 15 years in the league. She is a superstar and this post is just acknowledging everything she has accomplished in the WNBA. I wrote about her impact in numbers back in February for Her Hoop Stats, which you can read here. https://herhoopstats.substack.com/p/sylvia-fowles-retiring-final-season?s=w
When the topic of the WNBA comes up to casual viewers or people don’t watch the league, when it comes time to name the active WNBA players, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, A’ja Wilson come up. They know who they are and everything about them. But, rarely do they know about Sylvia Fowles. Which is a shame, considering she is one of the top 3 active centers in the league. She is also a 2x WNBA champion, a 2x WNBA Finals MVP as well as an MVP. She’s done more than her fair share of what it takes to be among the best players in the league. Not only that, she is the greatest defender the WNBA has ever seen. She’s won the Defensive Player of the Year award FOUR times in her career, which ties another WNBA legend, Tamika Catchings in winning the award four or more times and being the only two players in WNBA history to do so.
In order to fully appreciate everything she has accomplished, we must start at the beginning. She was drafted with the second overall pick, behind Candace Parker to the Chicago Sky. She immediately made an impact and was named to the WNBA All-Second Team and WNBA Rookie Team despite being limited with an injury. Over the next couple of years in Chicago, she made her first All-Star appearance in 2009, made the All-WNBA and All-Defensive First Team for the first time in 2010, was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in 2011, named to the All-WNBA Second Team and All-Defensive Team in 2012, and in 2013, she earned her second WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award after she helped Chicago earn it’s first trip to the WNBA Playoffs. In 2014, she made the All-Defensive Second Team and helped Chicago make it’s first trip to the WNBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
She immediately made her impact known as a rookie and one of the reasons why she is the greatest defender is because of her ability to limit her opponents when they try to score against her and she was able to show that in her first 7 seasons with the Chicago Sky. Unfortunately, because of the Sky’s inability to win in the WNBA playoffs consistently, Fowles requested a trade and sat out the first half of the 2015 season. She was then traded to the Minnesota Lynx.
In Minnesota, Sylvia Fowles continued to shine. She was with four great players in Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen and she won her first ever WNBA Championship. She was able to be named the MVP of the WNBA Finals against the Indiana Fever in 2015. In 2016, she started all 34 games for the first time since the 2011 season. In 2017, she was named WNBA Finals MVP for the second time in her career after winning her second WNBA Championship. Although the Lynx did not win championships after 2017, she still continued to play well and became the WNBA’s career leader in rebounds and FG% percentage. She was named to the WNBA All-Star Game 7 times in her career.
Her accolades in the WNBA make her stand out among the best ever in league history which is why she is a WNBA legend. Not only has she accomplished all of this in the league, she’s also played internationally in Russia, Turkey and China where’s won titles in every league. To top it all off, she’s played in 4 Olympic games, and won 4 gold medals. She has made an impression where ever she goes.
Off the court, Sylvia Fowles has made various donations to charity and has her own girls AAU basketball team in Florida, called the Miami Suns. She has also left her footprint in making sure that young girls and boys are taken care of.
Her team mates describe her as having a “kind, soft disposition and personality” and that she gives the best bear hugs. She has done it all in her time in the WNBA and the league will miss her and her play after this season.
Make sure to tune in and enjoy the final season for Sylvia Fowles. All in all, she’s one of the greatest WNBA defenders of all-time, one of the best players in the WNBA the league has had and is a winner on any team she plays on. She is truly, a WNBA legend.