Seimone Augustus is the most important player in Lynx history. The No. 1 overall pick back in 2006, Augustus was the first building block in a dynasty that netted six conference titles and four league championships. The 2011 WNBA Finals MVP carried the team from lean years of the mid-to-late 2000s until Maya Moore had matured into MVP form earlier in this decade.
Augustus joined the Lynx four years before Lindsay Whalen and five before Moore and outlasted them both (although Moore could return in 2020). She’s evolved from a one-woman scoring machine to the ultimate team player and sage leader.
Augustus has always remained true to herself, never shying from her identity and always offering an honest, refreshing take. As her career winds down, let’s make sure we appreciate Seimone while we can.
I caught up with the future Hall of Famer earlier this week after practice.
DZ: Well, you’re gearing up for year 14 here. But what’s got you excited about training camp at the start of the season?
AUGUSTUS: Just the newness. I mean, new beginnings. Any time you’re dealing with new teammates, it’s always going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting. Maybe just waiting to see what we going to become, you know? See what the journey’s going to be like.
DZ: What’d you do this winter to keep yourself busy?
AUGUSTUS: Worked out. I was at LSU most of the time just trying to keep my body right, keep my arm right. Other than that, visited family, friends, ate good. That’s about it. I mean, that was the most of my off season.
DZ: Stayed out Minnesota this winter. That was a good move.
AUGUSTUS: Yeah. For sure. I know. It was like, what, negative 52 up here? Definitely.
DZ: Yeah. February was brutal with all the snow.
AUGUSTUS: I called everybody to check up on everybody. Everybody was well. I wanted to make sure because I knew it was crazy.
DZ: Yeah, it was. Obviously everyone’s talking about who’s not here this year. What’s the vibe like? How different does it feel to you?
AUGUSTUS: It’s not too different. You know, obviously, we miss those particular people and we miss that energy, but it’s a new energy, like I said before. And it’s still the championship vibe as far as those day to day activities like the routines and the things that were going on. That’s why I’m here still. Danielle Robinson, some more experienced players, we’re able to pass on what we know, what we know we need to do every day to get better or put ourselves one step closer to our goal, which is to finish the season with a trophy in our hand.
But even still, like I said, it’s the day to day work that we’re able to kind of share with those less experienced with them.
DZ: I read that you recently mentioned that next year, 2020, is going to be your last year.
DZ: Do you reserve your right to change your mind on that?
AUGUSTUS: Nope. Nope. Hell no. Hell no. If maybe this year we finish off the year right, but I have no idea. I plan on 2020, but, you know, we’ll see. We’ll see. If everything goes well, I’ll talk with my family. Like I said, this may be it, but I’m just going to enjoy the process and see where it goes.
DZ: If you could go back in time and talk to 2006 Seimone, when you first got here, what advice would you give her?
AUGUSTUS: I wouldn’t give her any advice. I think the journey that I went on from ’06 to now was a great learning experience and I wouldn’t change it, because I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. I wouldn’t be the player I am. I wouldn’t be the person. So if anything, I would just stay the same.
DZ: Early in your career, there were a lot of coaches that went in and out of here (4 coaches in her first four seasons). Then Cheryl Reeve came along and obviously things just kind of stabilized and you guys had great success. What kind of bond have you forged with her over the years?
AUGUSTUS: Oh, I mean, it’s been amazing. The first meeting that I had with her, she didn’t even talk about basketball or anything like that. It was mostly about legacy. She was like, “What do you want your legacy to be like? Who do you want people to remember, or what do you want people to remember about Seimone Augustus, whether it’s basketball, whether it’s off the court?”
And that right there let me know that it was more than just basketball with her, and that I could come and let loose and grow as a person and as a player. She definitely did that for me, you know, putting me in a winning mindset. She came from Detroit where everybody hated Detroit because they won so much, so she helped me understand how to become a winner. You can never put a price on that.
DZ: Obviously, you’re 35 now, which in real life is still young, but-
AUGUSTUS: Yeah. In basketball life, yeah, you’re all geriatric, ready to go to the nursing home. Right. You know, I do what I can. Every day is different, obviously. I ain’t as young as I used to be but I can still do what I need to do to help this team and I’m prepared to do that. Like I said, like today was a prime example of, you know, me not being able to go full practice, but being able to help (rookies) Kenisha Bell and Tay Emory and the players that are playing our position learn a little bit more, just being very vocal in my role when I’m not able to be on the floor.
DZ: How fun is it sharing all the knowledge that you’ve accumulated with the younger players?
AUGUSTUS: You know, it’s interesting. I ask them a lot of questions, certain players. Like we asked Kenisha did she know Deanna Nolan, and she had no idea who Deanna Nolan was. And so it’s good kind of, you know, helping on our history. I was always a student of the game, so I studied players from our past from ’96, ’97 all the way up to now, and to kind of know who these players are, I feel like I have to educate them.
So, I don’t know, I just feel like my role is where it needs to be as far as education and the passing of those few little dimes that I know.