May 31, 2022
‘I don’t know if there’ll be another’: Seimone Augustus becomes second Lynx player to have jersey retired
Sights and sounds from the Target Center
MINNEAPOLIS — You know it when you see it. A special talent that helps define a generation and catapults a team, a culture, into the annals of history. In the moment, the collective ‘we’ was mesmerized by the talent and yet, in retrospect, still did not appreciate it enough.
But luckily, opportunities such as the one that occurred on a beautiful Sunday night in downtown Minneapolis gift us the chance to reminisce and be entranced for one last time.
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Seimone Augustus — Money ‘Mone, first overall pick, 8-time All-Star, 4-time WNBA champion, Finals MVP, Olympic gold medalist — had her jersey retired and raised to the Target Center rafters to sit alongside former teammate Lindsay Whalen and the late Malik Sealy in perpetuity.
“It was great to feel the love of the city,” Augustus said following a pregame ceremony attended by former teammates and coaches, both the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx, and thousands of adoring fans.
Augustus didn’t know much beyond the Louisianna bayou prior to joining the Lynx. She had grown up in Baton Rouge and helped develop the Louisiana State University women’s basketball team into a national power. However, upon arrival in the Land of 10,000 Lakes — a phrase she admits she had never heard before touching down in Minneapolis — she quickly became a fan favorite and learned to appreciate the state that so warmly embraced her.
“I’m just truly thankful for the opportunity and experiences that I had here,” Augustus said. “Minnesota basically helped me become the woman that I am today. Not just the people here, but the city. The melting pot of people. The different cultures.”
Augustus was an athlete before her time, a guard with the size of a forward and a forward with the handle of a guard. She became famous for her crossover and repeatable, reliable jumper, both tools she employed frequently to eviscerate opposing defenses and leave onlookers with mouths agape. She was, for a time, arguably the greatest player in all of women’s basketball, even as she played alongside all-time greats such as Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles.
But for as great as she was, as fierce of a competitor she was, she was and remains humble. Sure, she put in the work but it was Cheryl Reeve, Augustus says, that helped push her to become what she and her teammates ultimately became.
“She saw something within us all that we didn’t even see in ourselves at the time,” Augustus said, recalling a moment that occurred prior to the 2011 season that would ultimately change the face of women’s basketball. Reeve, who didn’t much appreciate the team’s 13-21 record in 2010 nor the franchise’s lack of success since their founding in 1999, asked her team what they wanted to become. What did they want their legacy to be?
“That one question basically sparked a thought in our head, like what do we want to be? What do we want to manifest?” Augustus said. “So we started writing stuff down. I literally wrote down: I wanted one championship. I wanted one gold medal. I wanted one All-Star. And I’m leaving here with a number of championships. A number of All-Star opportunities. And that’s just based on the fact that someone created that thought or activated something that was dormant or that I didn’t know existed within me.”
Reeve, as she is wont to do, deferred credit to her all-time great. In her mind, there had never been and will never be another Seimone Augustus.
“I don’t know if it’s a talent I’ll ever have a chance to coach again or be on the sidelines for and have such a great seat to watch. The wonder of Seimone Augustus’s ability to make shots and [her] very creative ways. I don’t know if there’ll be another.”
Written by Lucas Seehafer
Lucas Seehafer is a general reporter for The Next. He is also a physical therapist and professor at the undergraduate level. His work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Forbes, FanSided, and various other websites.