June 11 will be a day Sylvia Fowles (of the Minnesota Lynx) and Sue Bird (of the Seattle Storm) will remember for the rest of their lives as they became the latest WNBA players to have their jersey number retired by a franchise. The exciting news comes less than 12 months after they retired from the WNBA.
Sylvia Fowles saw her No. 34 raised to the rafters – where it now hangs alongside her former teammate, Rebekkah Brunson. Fowles spent 8 seasons with the Lynx between 2015 and 2022. She led the team to a title in 2015 and 2017, earning two Finals MVPs and one regular season MVP during that stretch.
Meanwhile, Sue Bird saw her No. 10 jersey raised to the rafters – where it now hangs alongside former teammate, Lauren Jackson. Bird spent her entire 19-year career with the Storm between 2002 and 2022. She was a 13-time All-Star and led the Storm to four titles in 2004, 2010, 2018, and 2020. .
Which Other WNBA Players Had Their Jersey Retired?
The WNBA was founded in April 1996 – just 27 years ago. That means the history books are still rather young and the rafters in most WNBA arenas are rather empty. Of course, that’s subject to change in the coming years – especially with the growth we’ve seen in the sport and the players in the past few years.
Considering what it takes to be honored with a jersey retirement, it’s no surprise that only 18 players and one general manager have had their jersey retired. Six of the 12 teams in the WNBA have yet to retire a jersey, while four of those 16 players (and the one GM) had their jerseys retired by a now-defunct team.
Sylvia Fowles and Sue Bird are the latest WNBA players to join that list, which includes some of the greatest players in the league. While we honor the two legends making their debut on the list, let’s take a moment to recognize the many greats that came before them and see how many names you remember.
17. Andrea Stinson (No. 32) – Charlotte Sting
Andrea Stinson spent nine years in the WNBA between 1997 and 2005 – eight of those seasons were spent with the now-defunct Charlotte Sting, who retired her No. 32 jersey. She averaged 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 31.3 minutes per game (254 games) with the Sting.
Stinson was a three-time All-Star and two-time All-WNBA Second-Team guard for the Sting. She was the only WNBA player to record 400 points, 125 rebounds, and 120 assists in both 1997 and 1998. Three years later (in 2001), she became the fourth player in WNBA history to score 2,000 points in her career.
16. Kim Perrot (No. 10) – Houston Comets
Kim Perrot spent just two years in the WNBA between 1997 and 1998, both of which with the Houston Comets. She was the starting point guard when the Comets won back-to-back WNBA championships in 1997 and 1998, averaging 7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.6 steals per game (58 games).
Prior to the start of the 1999 season, Perrot was diagnosed with lung cancer and succumbed to the disease just six months later. She was posthumously awarded a third championship ring when the Comets won in 1999 and subsequently had her No. 10 jersey retired. The Comets folded in 2008.
15. Cynthia Cooper (No. 14) – Houston Comets
Cynthia Cooper spent five seasons in the WNBA between 1997 and 2003, all of which with the Houston Comets – who honored her legendary career by retiring her No. 14 jersey. She averaged 21.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 35.2 minutes per game (124 games) with the Comets.
Cooper was a four-time WNBA Champion, four-time WNBA Finals MVP, two-time WNBA MVP, three-time All-Star, four-time All-WNBA First Team, and three-time scoring champion. She’s inducted into the WNBA Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
14. Ruthie Bolton (No. 6) – Sacramento Monarchs
Ruthie Bolton spent her entire eight-year career with the Sacramento Monarchs between 1997 and 2004. The team honored her incredible career by retiring her No. 6 jersey. She averaged 10.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 23.4 minutes per game (218 games) as a Monarchs guard.
Bolton was a two-time All-Star and was named to the All-WNBA First Team in 1997. She also enjoyed a ton of success with Team USA, winning two Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000, a gold medal at the 1991 World University Games, and a gold medal at the 1998 FIBA World Championship for Women.
13. Jerry Reynolds (No. GM) – Sacramento Monarchs
Jerry Reynolds is the only non-player (and only male) on this list. He is best known for his time with the Sacramento Kings (NBA), where he served as an assistant coach, head coach, and general manager for multiple stretches. When the WNBA formed in 1997, he became GM of the Sacramento Monarchs.
Reynolds served as the team’s GM between 1997 and 2003. He built a team that made the playoffs in every season between 1999 and 2003 before departing – never making it out of the Conference Finals. Still, his impact on the now-defunct franchise resulted in them retiring a No. GM jersey in his honor.
12. Tamika Catchings (No. 24) – Indiana Fever
Tamika Catchings spent her entire 15-year career with the Indiana Fever between 2002 and 2016. The team honored her loyalty by making her the first and only player in franchise history to have her jersey retired. She averaged 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 457 games.
Catchings was a Rookie of the Year, WNBA Champion, Finals MVP, regular season MVP, 10-time All-Star, 7-time All-WNBA First Team, five-time Defensive Player of the Year, and 10-time All-Defensive First Team. She’s the all-time leader in steals and all-time playoffs leader in points, rebounds, and steals.
11. Becky Hammon (No. 25) – Las Vegas Aces
Becky Hammon spent 16 seasons in the WNBA between 1999 and 2014 – eight seasons with the New York Liberty and six seasons with the San Antonio Silver Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces). She averaged 15.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.1 steals in 31.4 minutes (223 games) with the Silver Stars.
Hammon was a six-time All-Star, two-time All-WNBA First Team, and two-time All-WNBA Second Team. She led the WNBA in assists in 2007 and was a member of the WNBA 15th, 20th, and 25th Anniversary Team. She’s now the head coach of the Aces and led them to their first championship in her first season.
10. Lisa Leslie (No. 9) – Los Angeles Sparks
Lisa Leslie spent her entire 12-year career with the Los Angeles Sparks between 1997 and 2009. They honored her iconic career by making her one of two players in Sparks’ history to have their jersey retired. She averaged 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game (363 games).
Leslie was an 8-time All-Star, 3-time All-Star Game MVP, 8-time All-WNBA First Team, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, 2-time All-Defensive First Team, 2004 WNBA Peak Performer, 2-time WNBA champ, 2-time Finals MVP, 3-time regular season MVP, and four-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA.
9. Penny Toler (No. 11) – Los Angeles Sparks
Penny Toler spent just three seasons in the WNBA between 1997 and 1999 – all of which with the Los Angeles Sparks. She’s credited with scoring the first-ever basket in the WNBA and later made the first-ever free throw in WNBA history. Her WNBA career was short, but she made her presence known.
Toler averaged 10.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 0.9 steals in 25.9 minutes per game (88 games) for the Sparks – she was a full-time starter in her first two years before transitioning to the bench. She became the Sparks’ GM upon retiring as a player and assembled a roster that won a title in 2001.
8. Lindsay Whalen (No. 13) – Minnesota Lynx
Lindsay Whalen spent 15 seasons in the WNBA between 2004 and 2018 – nine seasons with the Minnesota Lynx and six seasons with the Connecticut Sun. She averaged 11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 0.8 steals in 27.6 minutes per game (283 games) with the Lynx between 2010 and 2018.
Whalen was a four-time WNBA champ, five-time All-Star, three-time All-WNBA First Team, and three-time WNBA Peak Performer, She led the league in assists three times and is the current all-time leader in playoff assists. She won two Olympic gold medals and two gold medals at the World Championships.
7. Rebekkah Brunson (No. 32) – Minnesota Lynx
Rebekkah Brunson spent 15 seasons in the WNBA between 2004 and 2018 – nine seasons with the Minnesota Lynx and six seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs. She averaged 9.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.0 steals in 27.6 minutes per game (261 games) with the Lynx between 2010 and 2018.
Brunson was a five-time WNBA champion, five-time All-Star, was named to the All-Defensive First Team once, and was named to the All-Defensive Second Team six times in her career. She’s the only WNBA player to win five titles and was once the all-time leader in rebounds before Sylvia Fowles passed her.
6. Seimone Augustus (No. 33) – Minnesota Lynx
Seimone Augustus spent 15 seasons in the WNBA between 2006 and 2020 – 14 seasons with the Minnesota Lynx and one season with the Los Angeles Sparks. She averaged 15.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.7 steals in 29.5 minutes per game (370 games) with LA between 2006 and 2019.
Augustus was a 4-time WNBA champion, 2011 Finals MVP, 8-time All-Star, 2012 All-WNBA First Team, 5-time All-WNBA Second Team, and 2006 Rookie of the Year. She won three Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2008, 2012, and 2016, and also won a gold medal at the World Championships in 2014.
5. Michele Timms (No. 7) – Phoenix Mercury
Michele Timms spent her entire five-year career with the Phoenix Mercury between 1997 and 2001. She averaged 7.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.6 steals in 28.3 minutes per game (116 games) with the Mercury. She became the first Mercury player and second WNBA player to have her jersey retired.
Timms was an All-Star in 1999 and almost led the Mercury to their first title in 1998. The Mercury made it to the Finals and had a 1-0 series lead when Timms was given the opportunity to close the series out with a buzzer-beater shot in Game 2. Unfortunately, she missed and the Comets came back to win the series.
4. Penny Taylor (No. 13) – Phoenix Mercury
Penny Taylor spent 13 seasons in the WNBA between 2001 and 2016 – 10 seasons with the Phoenix Mercury and three seasons with the Cleveland Rockers. She averaged 13.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals in 27.6 minutes per game (259 games) with the Mercury between 2004 and 2016.
Taylor was a three-time WNBA champion, three-time All-Star, 2007 All-WNBA First Team, and 2011 All-WNBA Second Team. She also won two Olympic silver medals for Australia and had a successful career in the WNBL. She went down as one of the greatest Australian basketball players of all-time.
3. Jennifer Gillom (No. 22) – Phoenix Mercury
Jennifer Gillom spent seven seasons in the WNBA between 1997 and 2003 – six years with the Phoenix Mercury and one with the Los Angeles Sparks. She averaged 15.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game (183 games) with the Mercury between 1997 and 2002.
Gillom was named an All-Star in 1999, All-WNBA First Team in 1998, and All-WNBA Second Team in 1997 – she also won the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 2002. She won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, 1987 Pan American Games, 1986 FIBA World Championship, and 1985 World University Games.
2. Bridget Pettis (No. 32) – Phoenix Mercury
Bridget Pettis spent eight seasons in the WNBA between 1997 and 2006 – six seasons with the Phoenix Mercury and two seasons with the Indiana Fever. She averaged 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 steals in 20.5 minutes per game (165 games) for the Mercury between 1997 and 2001, and 2006.
Pettis played her best basketball in the first two years of her career, averaging 12.6 points per game as a rookie in 1997 and 11.3 points per game in 1998. She was named an assistant coach of the team upon retiring as a player and won two championships in that capacity. She last coached in the WNBA in 2019.
1. Lauren Jackson (No. 15) – Seattle Storm
Lauren Jackson spent her entire 12-year career with the Seattle Storm between 2001 and 2012. She averaged 18.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks in 32.0 minutes per game (317 games) with the Storm. To this day, Jackson is one of the most decorated WNBA players of all-time.
Jackson was a 7-time All-Star, 3-time MVP, 2-time WNBA champion, 2010 Finals MVP, 3-time scoring champion, 2007 rebounding champion, 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, 7-time All-WNBA First Team, 2-time All-Defensive First Team, and 3-time WNBA Peak Performer. She won four Olympic medals with Australia.
WNBA Players Who Will Have Their Jersey Retired in the Future
When you look at the landscape of the WNBA today, you have to imagine we’ll be seeing quite a few jersey retirements in the near future. For example, it’s bound to happen with Diana Taurasi when she retires – having spent her entire 19-year career with the Phoenix Suns and winning three championships.
Another player who’s nearing a retirement that’ll likely have her jersey number retired is Candace Parker, who spent 13 years with the Los Angeles Sparks between 2008 and 2020. Brittney Griner would be another name to keep an eye on, having spent her entire 10-year career with the Phoenix Suns thus far.
Other names I’d consider are Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm, Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream, Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, and plenty of others – it all depends on who sticks around on one team long enough.
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