MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Lynx star center Sylvia Fowles has one request as she heads to the sixth WNBA All-Star Game of her career.
“I don’t want to get there and do a lot,” the 12-year veteran said with a laugh. “I just want to relax and let the young players play.”
The game in Las Vegas tips off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 27
As much as Lynx teammates Odyssey Sims and Napheesa Collier are understandably giddy about making the All-Star Game for the first time, Fowles, 33, is practical about the spectacle.
As is coach Cheryl Reeve, almost to a fault. She actually had forgotten this is Sims’ first time.
“Over the last five or six years we’ve had repeat all-stars, so the environment around getting announced has been a little different,” Reeve said. “I was just kind of like, ‘Oh. OK.’ Then I remembered (Sims) and was like, ‘Oh wait. Oh my gosh. I’m so proud.’
“I forgot what it felt like to be somebody’s first time. It was refreshing.”
It also puts things in perspective for Fowles, who understands she might only have a couple of All-Star Games left in her career. Because of that, she’s trying to soak up the moment.
“We had that conversation,” Reeve said. “She’s not ungrateful. While she might not be giddy, because it’s not her first time anymore, she still understands this is an honor.”
Not to mention it’s well-deserved. Fowles continues to be a force more than a decade into her career. Her solid play has halted plans of a rebuild and has the Lynx on the precipice of a playoff spot despite being without longtime stars Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson for the first season in years.
On top of that, Fowles has emerged as a vocal leader for the first time in her career.
“I am the mother,” she said with a laugh. “That’s what they call me, Mama Syl.”
That type of leadership has been a boon considering Seimone Augustus still hasn’t played this year as she works her way back from a lingering knee injury.
“She looked around and recognized that it wasn’t going to come from anybody else,” Reeve said. “It’s not something that she really wants to do; she just recognized it’s what the team needed. I went through that early on with Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson; they didn’t want to talk. She has really embraced that, and it’s been very effective.”
It hasn’t been an easy transition for Fowles, who has led by example for most of her career.
“It’s kind of hard to set those boundaries because as much as I want to be serious, I also want my teammates to feel comfortable,” she said. “I couldn’t really find a happy medium of trying to make everybody feel comfortable. Because when I’m mad, I’m mad. I just try not to show them the angry side and stay positive no matter what.”
Asked if she has offered advice to her teammates heading into All-Star Weekend, Fowles seemed content letting them figure it out for themselves.
“It’s going to be a whirlwind,” she said. “It’s just about soaking up the moment and having fun and not being afraid to let loose for a couple of days. And also not losing sight of what we have to do when we come back.”