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Thank You For Everything, Sylvia Fowles

There will never be another Sylvia Fowles.

WNBA Finals Game Five - Los Angeles Sparks v Minnesota Lynx Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

There will never be another Sylvia Fowles.

Two-time WNBA Champion.

Two-time WNBA Finals MVP.

2017 WNBA MVP.

Eight-time WNBA All-Star.

Seven-time All-WNBA Team Member.

Four-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist.

W25 Team Member.

The WNBA’s all-time leader in rebounds (4,006), field goal percentage (59.8%), and defensive rebounds (3,203).

The only player in WNBA history with at least 6,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, and 700 blocks.

For 15 years, Sylvia Fowles has dominated the women’s basketball world, from Miami to Moscow, Baton Rouge to Istanbul, Chicago to Shanghai, and for the last eight years, in Minneapolis — her second home.

Today, Syl’s Final Ride came to an end in Connecticut after posting her 101st double-double as a member of the Minnesota Lynx.

“I knew. I’ve been doing this long enough. It was what you hoped wasn’t going to happen,” Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve said on whether or not there was an added sense of finality to Fowles’ retirement when Fowles checked out for the final time.

“I told Syl this. There’ll never be another Sylvia Fowles. It’s not just the 4,000-plus rebounds, which is awfully impressive, but it’s the way she did it.”

“I just was telling her thank you, that I was sorry that it didn’t end out the the way that we’ve planned it,” Fowles told Canis Hoopus about the embrace she had with Reeve once she left the game for the final time.

“You never want to let a moment go unnoticed, where you appreciate somebody and you let them know that you love them. Because Cheryl has been everything that I needed to be successful and I’m grateful for that.”

Along the way, Fowles treated everyone she came across with respect, love, and kindness, both in life off the floor and in between the lines.

Even in her final season, a frustrating rollercoaster ride during which she fought through an injury that will require surgery this fall, she found a way to handle it with grace, find the positive in everything, and of course, wear that smile that lights up every room she enters.

“I learned that this team was gonna be different and a little more challenging. So, I had to do things that was out of my comfort zone. ...I’m gratefully happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone for this team,” Fowles said after today’s loss.

“But also, too, just appreciating the love that I got from the fans this year. It put things into a different perspective for me. I never got that in my first 14 years of playing, so to see that all come together in my last year, I’m very grateful for that as well.”

Fowles will long be revered for how how she lifted those around her as basketball teammates and coaches. But what truly makes her a legend in her own rarified air — one of one — is how she made them better as people.

Reeve developed a deeper relationship with Fowles in the WNBA Bubble in 2020, while Fowles was out with an injury, and began to see what she learned from Sweet Syl.

“Syl kind of came into this place with me that she really started to understand me and when it was about to get bad or what was needed. Maybe in some small way, patience. ...If she moved the needle just a little bit, that’s pretty, really saying something.

“But I think Syl does a good job giving you perspective. She sees the good in things. Gosh, if I can get an ounce of that, I would be really appreciative.”

The legacy that Fowles leaves behind is simply unmatched. She’s a giant of basketball with a résumé that will never be touched, a spirit impossible to imitate, and an indelible impact that will permeate women’s basketball forever.

“There will never be another Sylvia Fowles in the way that she did it,” Reeve said. “So many people, so many post players looked up to Sylvia Fowles and wanted to be like Sylvia Fowles. That’s an incredible legacy. The greatest all time. So it was worth the 15 years of sacrifice, etc. She’s a Hall of Famer in a class by herself.”

Thank you for everything, Sylvia Fowles.

For your grace.

For your kindness.

For your dominance.

For two championships.

For making Minnesota part of your story.

For the impact you’ve made on this special community through your commitment to its youth through cycling and gardening, and using your voice to support causes you believe in that make Minneapolis a better place.

For inspiring young girls that now want to be like Sweet Syl when they grow up.

For leaving basketball, the Minnesota Lynx, and the Minneapolis community better than you found it.

For all the memories over these last eight years.

We’ll always be indebted.