In December of 2009, the Lynx made a move that would in many ways come to define their franchise. After the Sacramento Monarchs were unable to find new ownership, it was announced that the team would disband. A dispersal draft was held, and Minnesota had the second pick. With that selection, the Lynx made Rebekkah Brunson a member of their squad.
It might be the biggest understatement of all time to say that move paid off.
Brunson is in her ninth year with the Lynx, and her tenacious defending, incredible work ethic, knack for rebounding and on court leadership have been absolutely critical in making the Lynx who they are. Brunson has won more WNBA championships than any other player, she is the WNBA’s all-time leading rebounder, the Lynx’s all-time double-double leader and even in her 15th WNBA season, she routinely leads the Lynx in minutes per game.
Brunson’s best statistical season with the Lynx came in 2012 when she averaged 11.4 points on 50.5 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 27 minutes per game. During the Lynx’s four championship runs, she has never averaged less 28 minutes per game. This is a player that the Lynx want on the court.
Despite her numerous records, Brunson is one of those players whose contributions don’t always show up on the stat sheet. Her attitude and competitiveness towards the game is infectious—yes, she is incredibly talented, but the thing about Brunson that makes her so special is that she always wants that rebound, that bucket, that win, more than her competition. She’s even a tone-setter in the offseason—Brunson stays in amazing shape and year after year she produces at a high level. There’s a reason she’s been nicknamed ‘The Machine.’
“I’ve been blessed to be on some amazing teams,” Brunson said. “When I went to Sacramento, we had a great team. . . And then to have the opportunity to come play with Lindsay (Whalen) and Maya (Moore) and Seimone (Augustus) and now (Sylvia Fowles), it really doesn’t get much better than that. . . I’ve been blessed throughout my career.”
Of course, those players have been blessed to play with a player of Brunson’s caliber, even if she won’t say it.
There’s no question that Lynx wouldn’t be the same without Brunson. Though she didn’t start her WNBA career in Minnesota, she will always be remembered as a Lynx legend.