11 July 2022
By Julian Basena
CHICAGO — Sylvia Fowles had clear intentions of making her final All-Star appearance one to remember. To much surprise, the Lynx legend threw down a crowd-pleasing dunk Sunday afternoon, capping off a significant chapter of her Hall of Fame career with a rare WNBA feat. Fowles, who spent eight years of her career in Minnesota, helped lead her team to a 134-112 win in a packed Wintrust Arena.
After announcing that year 15 would be her last, this season has become a farewell tour for Fowles. Alongside Sue Bird, another future retiree, Fowles co-captained and started the game at center. They were both honored at halftime and sent off the floor with a standing ovation. Immediately after tip-off, Fowles wasted no time making the day special.
At the end of a play drawn up just for her, Fowles splashed a three-pointer to open up the scoring for the afternoon. Prior to that, she had only attempted one triple for the entirety of her career. Fowles made her money crashing the boards and stymying frontcourts with her extraordinary defensive ability, one that earned her the most rebounds in league history, four Defensive Player of the Year awards and one MVP.
Though Fowles spent much of her time anchored in the paint or attacking the rim, dunks were infrequent, too, making Sunday’s slam momentous. Fittingly, her previous dunk came in 2009, during her first All-Star appearance.
“Get out your comfort zone a little bit, having fun,” Fowles said. “That’s what’s most important about this weekend.”
With 20 minutes at the five, Fowles ended with a surprisingly full stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block. Her dunk just before the halftime break drew reactions from across the league along with the jeering 9,500 fans in the Chicago stadium and everyone else on the floor — teammates and opponents alike, they all were ecstatic to give Fowles a moment for herself.
Lynx teammate Rachel Banham was especially excited to see Fowles dunk. Banham challenged her to dunk and “shake some a–” in a text conversation over the weekend. She shared her excitement in a tweet that noted Fowles completed half of the challenge.
Fowles will rejoin an inspired and red hot 8-15 Lynx team that will be looking to continue their streak of upset victories to the postseason.