This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity. This is from The Layup Line Podcast between Kyle Ratke and Timberwolves and Lynx Vice President of Basketball Development John Thomas. Thomas was a star for the University of Minnesota from 1993-1997 and played more than 200 games in the NBA.
KR: Lindsay Whalen’s last regular-season home game is going to be on Sunday. Former Gopher, similar to you. How well do you know Lindsay?
JT: Pretty well. Actually, the first time that I saw Lindsay, it was my offseason. She was at William’s Arena. I came back to just check on the crew and the fellas and everyone else. She was playing pickup. And she was playing pickup with her, Janel McCarville and maybe one other young lady. I don’t remember, but they were all playing against men. Her swagger was just oozing off of the William’s Arena floor. That for me is when I knew she was something special. And come to find out years later during our interactions, she was like ‘your poster was on my wall!’ And it’s one of those things where I’m like, ‘my poster might have been on your wall, but you’re a WNBA champion! You’re an Olympic gold medalist!’ And more importantly beyond all the accomplishments, she’s had on the basketball court, and again, that’s where that story is told.
For me, where she shines the most is just who she is a person and the type of personality and how she carries herself. The type of teammate she is. I’ve been privileged to go to her practices and games and just how she conducts herself and the energy she brings. The type of leadership she shows has been nothing short of amazing. When I look at that in totality, just the culture the Lynx have been able to build throughout the course of the years, she’s one major piece to that championship puzzle.
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