January 19, 2024 

Jasmine Thomas announces retirement from the WNBA after 13 seasons

Thomas hired by Dallas Wings as director of player programs and development coach

Guard Jasmine Thomas announced her retirement from the WNBA on Thursday after 13 seasons. A source familiar with the situation also confirmed Thomas’ retirement to The Next.

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“[I] came a long way from the 9 year old girl that picked up basketball for fun to make friends,” Thomas said on her Instagram post. “I feel so blessed to have had such a long and successful career on the court. I’m grateful for how my journey has shaped me as a person, I wouldn’t change it for anything. To my family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, venue personnel and fans around the world — thank you for being a huge part of an incredible experience of a lifetime.”

During her college years, Thomas played at Duke for four seasons. She was named to the All-ACC First Team twice and was selected for the 2011 ACC All-Defensive Team. Thomas also helped lead the team to four ACC championships, which included two regular-season and two tournament championships. Furthermore, she received the Most Valuable Player award in the conference tournament twice.

Thomas is one of the only two players to have achieved 100 steals in a single season. Moreover, she is the fourth player in the program’s history to record over 1,300 points, 400 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals and 50 blocks throughout her collegiate career.

“As I transition into this next phase of life, naturally, I’ve reflected on my exciting basketball journey,” Thomas said in Duke’s press release. “My time at Duke prepared me to succeed on and off the court. I’m truly grateful for the continued support from the amazing Duke fans over the years.”

Thomas was selected No. 12 overall by the Seattle Storm in the 2011 WNBA Draft. She played for four teams during her 13-year career. Thomas started with the Washington Mystics from 2011 to 2012, then was traded to the Atlanta Dream, where she played from 2013 to 2014. Her longest tenure with a team was with the Connecticut Sun from 2015 to 2022.

Ahead of her last season, Thomas was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. She appeared in 32 games for the team and averaged 2.7 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

Throughout her career, Thomas played in 390 games (started in 309 of them) and averaged 9.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Thomas played for the Sun for eight years and was highly accomplished. She earned several accolades, including a selection to the WNBA All-Star Game in 2017. She was named to five WNBA All-Defensive teams; three of these selections were first-team picks in 2017-2019, while the other two were second-team selections in 2016 and 2021.

Thomas was also part of the Sun team that made it to the 2019 WNBA Finals, in which they fell to the Mystics in five games.

“Incredible person, player, and leader. We’re all better for having her a part of our lives,” Sun president Jen Rizzotti said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Congrats [Jasmine] on an amazing career!”

“I have kept every single practice plan for my 20+ career as a head coach. No name appears on those plans more than [Thomas],” Los Angeles Sparks head coach Curt Miller, who also coached Thomas in Connecticut, said on X. “For the last 8 years & every single practice during my WNBA career, Jas showed up the SAME WAY. Professional & ready to work! Congratulations.”

On Friday, the Dallas Wings announced that Thomas will join the franchise as director of player programs and development coach.

Former and current WNBA players, coaches and fans expressed gratitude for Thomas on Instagram. Her former teams and the WNBA also made appreciation posts.

“You are hands down one of THEE BEST teammates I’ve ever had!” Sparks guard Layshia Clarendon said. “Your competitiveness, willingness to pick others up, leadership, tenacity, professionalism are top tier. We are all [Jasmine] Thomas fans for Iife. Cheers to you, my friend!”

“The ultimate teammate, vet, PG, leader, and life of the party!!” Sun director of franchise development and 2020 WNBA champion Morgan Tuck said. “[I] can’t wait to see what’s next for you and congrats on an AMAZING career.”

Thomas is the second player to retire from the WNBA this offseason. Last month, Tiffany Hayes retired from playing in the league after 11 seasons.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the news that Thomas will join the staff of the Dallas Wings.

Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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