Lynx star Napheesa Collier headed to second straight Summer Olympics

Napheesa Collier thought she was headed to a team meeting with the Minnesota Lynx Tuesday morning when she got a double surprise.

Collier opened a door at a practice facility in Arizona before the Lynx face the Las Vegas Aces. She saw Brianna Weiss, the director for the USA Women’s Basketball Team. Weiss had a USA jersey with Collier’s name on it. She was officially headed to the Summer Olympics.

Then, just after soaking that all in, she turned a corner to most of the team on the road trip, who gave her a standing ovation.

"It was back-to-back surprises. I love this team, I love this organization. They’re always so supportive, I love how they celebrate the little ones and the big ones," Collier said via Zoom Tuesday afternoon. "To have them out there with such a huge announcement, a personal goal for me to make the Olympic roster to have them there to celebrate with was really special."

Collier is on Team USA for her second straight Olympics, with the goal of bringing home a gold medal from Paris. Her coach happens to be her Lynx coach, Cheryl Reeve. Will they get along representing their country?

"I don’t know, I heard she’s kind of a hard ass," Collier joked.

Kidding aside, Collier was among the youngest players on Team USA four years ago and one of the last to make the roster. She’s hoping three seasons in the WNBA since will help spark a bigger role in Paris.

Collier helped lead the Americans to a title at the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February in Belgium, solidifying their spot for the Summer Olympics in Paris. In that tournament, Collier averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds, three assists, 3.7 steals and played more than 23 minutes per game.

Collier is also playing at an MVP level for the Lynx this season. The three-time WNBA All-Star is averaging 21.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game as the Lynx are 8-3 and near the top of the league standings.

"I played USA for a long time, but the national team is at the highest level. Just what that looks like, what the expectations are," Collier said. "I hope my role is a lot bigger this time. The goal is the same, to win gold. No matter what, that’s what I want the result to be."

The U.S. Women’s National Team heads to Paris having won seven straight gold medals, and nine of 12 since women’s basketball became an Olympic sport. Their target doesn’t get any bigger than that.

"You want to knock down the person who has been on top, and we’ve been on top for so long. So I know everyone is coming for blood," Collier said.