Tina Thompson: A WNBA Original

17 Remarkable Years

The first pick in the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997. Nine-time All-Star. The only player to ever score 7,000 points and grab 3,000 rebounds. Four-time WNBA champion. One of the best players to ever play the game. Ambassador. Competitor. Mother. Legend. Tina Thompson.

At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Tina will retire from the WNBA as one of the most prolific players to ever grace a basketball court. The awards and statistics she has accumulated during her 17 seasons speak for themselves, but the countless players she has impacted and the young basketball players she has inspired is a legacy that will remain untouched.

Though Tina has won Olympic golds and has been named to the WNBA All-Decade team, she will be remembered most for the way she has shaped the landscape of women’s basketball. For every point she has scored, and there have been plenty of those, she has shown young basketball players that they can dream big. With every battle for a rebound, she has epitomized what it means to never quit. You cannot talk about basketball without talking about Tina Thompson.

To play professional basketball for 17 years is impressive. To be able to play basketball for 17 years at the highest level, lead your team and be a dominating force every night is remarkable. One of the best players to ever play the game. Tina Thompson.

Tina Thompson Photo Galleries

Tina's Top Moments Tina Through the Years

What they're saying

Laurel Richie “As the first player drafted into the league in 1997 and the only player to play in 17-straight seasons, she is a vibrant example of showing the world what’s possible. The stats tell the story of her impressive on-court performance, but the truest testament on her long-lasting contribution to the WNBA, beyond her red lipstick of course, is the impact she’s had on young players all across the league. So many of them have spoken so eloquently of the time she’s spent with them, helping them learn, develop and adjust to the professional game. This, I believe, will be her greatest legacy.”
– Laurel Richie | WNBA President, 2011-present
Renee Brown “I respect her professionalism, humility and love for the game. It’s been 17 years since she’s been drafted No. 1 overall, and I’ve enjoyed watching her grow and mature. One of her favorite words is ‘cool,’ and it’s been so cool watching her play.”
– Renee Brown | WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, 1997-present
Brian Agler “She’s one of the all time best. She continues to show it at 38. She’ll mix it up. I’ve coached some of the best players and she takes a back seat to no one in regards to competitiveness.”
– Brian Agler | Seattle Storm Head Coach, 2008-present
Nancy Darsch “Tina is a winner as an athlete and as a person. Her focus, preparation and competitiveness combined with her physical skills, knowledge of the game and basketball savvy make her the total package. She is a strong leader with a gentle tone. She is an excellent role model and a great teammate. Tina's legacy demonstrates how to be a highly successful professional with class while being respected and respectful. She's done it the right way. She's one of the best. The game will miss her! Thank you, Tina!!”
– Nancy Darsch | Seattle Storm Assistant Coach, 2008-present
Sue Bird “I feel very fortunate to have been able to call her a teammate for so many years. From USA basketball, to Russia, to the WNBA it’s been awesome, and I wish her the best of luck.”
– Sue Bird | Seattle Storm Guard, 2002-present
Noelle Quinn “What ultimately makes Tina Thompson a winner is her work ethic, her competitive spirit, and her toughness. It's on display in the locker room through her leadership. It's on display on the practice court through her focus. It's on display on road trips through her preparation and discipline. I admire her competitive spirit, her professionalism, her humility, and her style. She’s great in so many ways but the biggest thing I admire about her is her passion to help others. She’s helped me so much along the way and she’s had my back no matter what.”
– Noelle Quinn | Seattle Storm Guard, 2013-present
Van Chancellor “She has meant so much to our game. She did it with such class and was a joy for me to coach; what a great career she has had. She is a great scorer, great rebounder and great defensive player, but she’s been an intelligent player too. I am glad I got to be apart of it.”
– Van Chancellor | Former Houston Comets Head Coach, 1997-2006
Cynthia Cooper “I am so proud of her. What an honor and pleasure it was to play with her and win four WNBA Championships with her and I am incredibly proud and honored to be her teammate.”
– Cynthia Cooper | Former Houston Comets Guard, 1997-2003
Ann Meyers-Drysdale “17 years of unbelievable play in the WNBA. Being the No. 1 draft pick way back when in 1997 with the Houston Comets, four WNBA Championships, two Olympic medals, All-Star games, First-Team All-American – at times I thought she could have been MVP. Yes, she led the league in scoring and is one of the top rebounders – her shooting has been unbelievable. She has been one class person in this league. She definitely will be missed, but she has left her footprints and her mark in this game and forever will be remembered.”
– Ann Meyers-Drysdale | Phoenix Mercury Vice President, 2006-present
Diana Taurasi “She’s been a pioneer for this game for the last two decades, through college, WNBA, USA Basketball, overseas. She’s meant so much to the game and to be still playing at this level at that age, it says a lot about her. You watch her play, and you ask ‘Why are you retiring?’”
– Diana Taurasi | Phoenix Mercury Guard, 2004-present