The greatest center in the history of women’s basketball is finally retiring.
LSU legend Sylvia Fowles played her final WNBA game on Sunday, more than 15 years after she played her final game for LSU.
It marks the completion of LSU’s golden era, as she was the last active professional player from LSU’s five straight Final Fours from 2004-2008.
Fowles’s list of accomplishments are almost as long as the 6’7” center herself. Before Fowles even came to LSU, she had already made a name for herself as the first girl to dunk in a high school game.
On her recruiting trip, LSU rolled out the metaphorical red carpet and had another legend Seimone Augustus show Fowles around campus.
“I took her to Jack in the Box… and just chilled out,” said Augustus in an interview with the Players Tribune. “And she was like, ‘I’m coming (to LSU). I don’t know why y’all are doing all this.’”
Upon arriving at campus, Fowles soon led the Tigers to four straight Final Fours. When the Tigers lost their coach in 2007 to a scandal, Fowles carried LSU to victory over arguably the best coach in the sport, Geno Auriemma.
Fowles reshaped the record book at LSU. She is still the program leader in rebounds (1,570), blocks (321), double-doubles (86), and dunks. She became the first (and as of now only) LSU player, and just the sixth in the country, to dunk in a women’s basketball game when she dunked on UL-Lafayette in 2007.
She is the WNBA’s all-time leader in rebounds and top three in blocks; she is also the only LSU graduate to win a WNBA MVP award and is a two-time champion in the league
She is leaving on her terms as one of the best players in the league. She currently leads her team in points, rebounds, and blocks. In her final season, she was still the WNBA rebound leader and, in her final appearance, was the first player to dunk in the WNBA All-Star Game.
Her most impressive feat might be her four Olympic gold medals, making her one of the most decorated Olympians in LSU history.
All of which is to say, yes, she is the greatest center to play the game and is the standard future centers will be measured against. Some of her accomplishments, especially the rebounds, might never be topped.
None of that, though, is what has made Fowles such a special player. She is one of the kindest professional athletes.
“Still the thing that I hold dear to my heart, as do all Lady Tiger fans, is not what you’ve done, but how you’ve done it,” said LSU assistant Bob Starkey. “For all your greatness on the floor, you are revered by how you handled yourself off the floor – with great humility – as someone who always cared about others. You see, Syl, as great a player as you are, you are an even better teammate, an even better person”
Fowles has been a gentle giant since her LSU games.
One of her hobbies is knitting, and she has knit pillows for LSU coaches in the past.
She has operated a charity that helps children in Baton Rouge and Miami, her hometown.
With basketball over, Fowles plans to become a mortician, a fitting job for someone who used to bury Tennessee.
️ "SYL'S HOUSE!"— ESPN (@espn) August 13, 2022
What a moment from the Minnesota crowd as @SylviaFowles walks up to the podium. pic.twitter.com/uGB9mOjggQ