Lynx Dazzle, Surprise At 4th Annual Catwalk For A Cure
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx fans are used to seeing their favorite players out on the basketball court doing their thing. Whether it’s grabbing a rebound, driving to the rim or shooting a free throw, the Lynx are always wearing the same thing: their uniforms. Thursday night was a different story, as Lynx fans got a chance to see their favorite players strut their personal styles on the runway.
The fourth annual Catwalk for a Cure at the Mall of America’s Rotunda was a big success, bringing Lynx players, coaches and fans together for a fun experience to benefit breast cancer research.
“For us, it’s just about having fun,” Taj McWilliams-Franklin said. “So as long as we just have great fun and just engage the fans, engage the audience, engage ourselves and just have a great time, it’s for a great cause. So in the end, it doesn’t matter what you wear or how crazy or silly you are. It’s just good fun for a great cause.”
The event featured a runway show in which each Lynx player sported two outfits, which they shopped for themselves. All three Lynx coaches made an appearance on the runway as well, after which there was a question and answer session with the players. A silent auction also took place throughout the evening, where guests could bid on Lynx and Timberwolves memorabilia. Fans also got to enjoy a pre-show meal and bowling at the Sky Deck Sports Grille and Lanes with some of the players.
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“I think that [the fans] love it,” guard Lindsay Whalen said. “I think it’s cool to see that we have a whole other side. You know, when we’re on the basketball court, that’s our job, we’re focused, our hair is back and of course we have our basketball gear on and everything. I think it shows the softer side or a different side of everyone on the team, and just kind of how we would dress for a nice night out.”
The event was put on in conjunction with C.H. Robinson, an organization that is also committed to breast cancer awareness and research. Their Pink Ribbon Watermelon has raised over $500,000 for breast cancer research since 2008.
“C.H. Robinson is very happy to sponsor and help present Catwalk for a Cure,” said Mike Wilken, public relations manager with C.H. Robinson. “We’re able to display our Pink Ribbon Watermelon … and the Catwalk itself, all the money raised goes towards breast cancer research, so two causes coming together for one big event.”
The talk of the night was what coach Cheryl Reeve would be wearing, as her look last year shocked fans and players alike. She didn’t disappoint this year, gracing the runway in a sequined dress and glittery leggings, complete with big ‘80s hair and a model swagger that kept everyone entertained.
“I think the players enjoyed the walk,” Reeve joked. “You know, I practiced the walk between last year and this year.”
Then, at the end of the night, the players returned to the stage and displayed a choreographed group dance headlined by Maya Moore. The four-minute music mix was in the works for weeks.
McWilliams-Franklin said the event is a bonding experience for the team, between shopping for the outfits together, getting their hair and makeup done the day of the event, and then seeing all the players’ personalities come through on the runway.
The players’ attire ranged from formal dresses to business casual, but Seimone Augustus rocked camouflage cargo shorts with black, studded high-top sneakers and a cap.
“My favorite outfit was Seimone’s,” said young fan Becca Hendrickson, “because I really liked how she incorporated her style and kind of had a tomboy feel to it, which I can totally relate to.”
The ability to strike a chord with fans like Becca is one of the main reasons this event is so much fun for both the players and fans.
“I just think each of the players has their own personality, so it’s really cool to see them in a different light,” Reeve said. “I think for our players to connect with our fans in this way. First and foremost being a great cause, and then just to be able to see them laugh and really enjoy the night, it’s fun. At a basketball game, we really don’t get to see them that much, and here, we can kind of joke around and have a little Q & A, and connect on a different level.”
The players agreed.
“I think it’s just great to see all the support from the fans,” Whalen said. “I think everyone really comes together and understands that we’re here for a really good cause, and something that’s obviously bigger than basketball.”
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