Seattle, WA, United States (4E Sports) – Tina Thompson, the first No. 1 draft pick in WNBA history in 1997, announced that she will retire at the end of the season, ending a 16-year playing career.
“I’m not retiring because I can’t play basketball; I’m retiring because I don’t want to play basketball,” Thompson said. “I’m just tired. My approach was to play until I stop having the same feelings and passions.”
The 38-year-old Thompson, the last of the WNBA’s charter members still in the league, will end her career as the leading scorer of the Seattle Storm with an average of 14.1 points per game after injuries to stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.
My expectation was basically to do whatever needed to help our team,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if it was a surprise, it was just more necessary. … I expected Lauren as well as Sue to be here and ready to go. With them, we could intend to do really big things”
The 6-2 Thompson was the third star on a Houston Comets team that featured Hall of Famers Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes and won the first four WNBA titles.
Thompson will retire as the league’s all-time leading scorer, with more than 1,200 more than second-place Lisa Leslie. She was a nine-time All-Star and one-time scoring champion.
“I honestly think I could score points forever,” Thompson said. “But there’s so many other things. Stopping other players, matching physicality and things like that. For me, that’s not at the same level as it has been.”