Tina Thompson’s legendary career in the WNBA will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2013 season, the forward announced Friday. Embarking on her 17th season in the league, Thompson was the first overall pick in the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997.
“Basketball has been a safe haven, a protector, a comfort zone and a provider, as well as one of my life’s joys,” said Thompson. “I am forever grateful for my WNBA journey. I have experienced things I could never have imagined or dreamed of. I started this game at the age of nine; now at 38 my journey is coming to a close. I have an eight-year-old son and I am so thankful that Dyllan has been able to grow up in and share this journey with me. It has truly been a blessing and I am grateful for the experiences, both good and not so good. Those experiences have helped shape me into the woman I am today, the woman I am very proud to be. As I step into this next chapter of my life I will approach it with the same passion. It has been a great ride.”
As the only player to compete in all 16 seasons to date, Thompson, 38, will end her career as the WNBA record holder in points scored, minutes played and games started. Currently, Thompson has 7,018 points, logged 15,129 minutes and 437 games started. She has suited up for a total of 467. She is averaging 15.2 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and 1.7 assists per game in 32.7 minutes per game. On June 18, 2010, she became just the second player in history to reach the 6,000-point milestone. She became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer on Aug. 9, 2010, scoring 23 points vs. San Antonio to surpass Lisa Leslie’s career total of 6,263. Thompson helped lead the Houston Comets to the first four WNBA titles, spanning 1997 to 2000.
“Tina Thompson is not only the all-time leading scorer, but one of the all-time greatest players and competitors to play in the WNBA,” said Seattle Storm head coach and general manager Brian Agler. “She was a major component to the success and championships of the Houston Comets. She has always represented the WNBA in a very professional and respectful manner.”
Thompson is one of the most decorated players in WNBA history. 2009 marked her eighth WNBA All-Star appearance, (1999-2003, 2006, 2007, 2009). She was honored at the 2011 All-Star ceremony as one of the WNBA Top-15 Players of All-Time and in 2006, was named to the league’s All-Decade Team.
“Tina’s career is truly spectacular,” said Seattle Storm President & CEO Karen Bryant. “Her legacy will be one that is remembered for a long time to come. She is a pioneer for women’s professional basketball and has seen this league through its development. We are proud to have her as part of the Storm family and we are excited to cheer her on throughout 2013.”
A two-time Olympic gold medal-winner in 2004 and 2008, Thompson has proven a dominant player in the professional ranks.
A Los Angeles native and product of Morningside High School, Thompson had a storied career at the University of Southern California. She earned 1996-97 AP and Kodak All-American honors as a senior. Thompson led USC to three NCAA tournaments and one Elite Eight appearance, the latter as a freshman in 1994. She finished her Trojan career with 2,248 points and 1,168 rebounds, one of six in USC women’s basketball history to break the 2,000-point plateau and was honored as a 2012 inductee to the USC Hall of Fame.
In honor of Thompson’s career, the Storm will provide an allotment of tickets for Seattle Storm away games in every WNBA market for distribution to Boys & Girls Clubs in inner cities, including the Robertson Recreation Center in Los Angeles where Thompson honed her skills as a youngster.