For the past few seasons, WNBA Alll-Star Tina Thompson knew her career was coming to a close. But she dodged questions from reporters, not wanting to make a commitment only to spring back for another season. After 17-years, however, Thompson can safely say the 2013 season will be her farewell tour.
The WNBA’s inaugural overall No. 1 draft pick, Thompson won four WNBA championships. She played 12 seasons for Houston, only signing with Los Angeles because the Comets were abruptly disbanded in 2008. She joined the Storm in 2012, hoping to win a fifth WNBA championship. But a injury-riddled season ended in a first-round loss to Minnesota in the opening round of the playoffs.
Thompson, 38, signed a two-year contract to play in Seattle. She contemplated breaking it after All-Stars Sue Bird (knee) and Lauren Jackson (hamstring) announced they were going to skip the 2013 season due to surgeries. Thompson was already a reserve in 2012, starting just five games for the first time in her career. She wondered about being a featured starter in the twilight of her career.
What her final season will be like is just beginning. Thompson is expected to start when Seattle hosts Phoenix on Sunday. She’s expected to start, the second of 34 final games in her WNBA career.
“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 in a news release. “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 8-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.”
Thompson has logged 7,018 points, 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.