Sylvia Fowles is in the final year of her illustrious 15-year career, having announced her retirement prior to the season. The former LSU standout, WNBA champion, MVP and four-time Olympian is playing in her eighth All-Star game, where she is co-captain for Team Wilson. But, along with making the All-Star game, Fowles is back where it all started in Chicago, to whom she was drafted.
“It feels great,” Fowles said in a pre-All-Star game press conference today. “I’m happy to see my career flourish to me playing again on the Chicago floor. I got drafted here in 2008, and to have this opportunity to play my last All-Star Game back in Chicago means a lot, and of course I get to do it with two special girls that I’m very close with, and just hoping to have fun.”
Fowles spent her first seven seasons with the Sky before joining the Minnesota Lynx. In her time in Chicago, she averaged 15.7 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the field.
Longtime Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird will also retire at the conclusion of the season, and speculation abounds around other veterans, as well. Fowles said she and her peers are leaving the WNBA in good hands.
“I think the foundation has been set with a lot of great players,” she said. “Unfortunately you got to see some of those leave at this point, but I think we have a young group of talent that’s willing to do what’s needed to be done that’s not going to shy away from the things that they want and the things that they believe in.”
Fowles missed some time with a knee injury this year, but came back sooner than expected and has picked up right where she left off. The Lynx struggled earlier in the year, but won five of their last seven games before the break. Fowles is averaging 14.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this year.
One of the hot topics among fans is the coverage of Fowles’ final year and how it measures up to the talk about Bird’s impending departure.
“As far as the league, I think they’ve been doing an okay job,” Fowles said of promotion of her. ” I try not to focus mostly on league stuff, but as far as the girls, yes, most definitely the players have been giving me my flowers.”
Fowles will retire as a two-time champion, a two-time Finals MVP, and a four-time Defensive Player of the Year. She said retirement has not hit her yet.
“I think mainly because I’m just trying to be present in the moment and enjoy it,” she said. “I know once it’s all said and done, I’ll probably be a big water bag, and who wants to do that every game?”
“Sweet Syl” has been a joy to watch play, and she will be missed when she is gone. Very few players controlled the paint like she did in her WNBA career.