MINNEAPOLIS - Sylvia Fowles is now a seasoned veteran, both with the Minnesota Lynx and the U.S. Women’s National Team.
She’s also earned plenty of hardware since her professional career started in 2008. But playing never gets old, and she’ll be on the court as long as her body allows. The WNBA season doesn’t start for more than a month, but Fowles was in San Antonio, Texas, this week with the best women’s basketball players in the country.
The U.S. Women’s National Team held training camp, with the 2021 Summer Olympic Games coming up in late July in Tokyo. She’s now a veteran, making sure younger star players know what it means to have "USA" across your chest.
"You want to go as long as you can, but also too it’s a challenge within itself because we are getting older. We are a step slower, and so having to keep up with the younger generation, it’s a challenge within itself," Fowles said this week. Trying to go as long as I can, as much as my body tells me that I can."
This will be the fourth Olympic Games for Fowles. She won golds with Team USA in 2008 in Beijing, 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She’s also got two WNBA titles, both with the Minnesota Lynx in 2015 and 2017. When her playing career does end, she’ll add more hardware as a hall-of-famer.
So what does it take to be a three-time gold medalist? The 35-year-old Fowles says leave your ego at the door.
"I think it’s just all about ego check and making sure we have a common goal, and that’s to win and have fun," Fowles said. "USA means you’re working with the best of the best. Hands down, by far, you’re working with the most elite, best athletes there is. To have that opportunity to go out and compete with these women means everything."
The Team USA roster hasn’t been finalized, but this week’s training camp included current teammates Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride and former teammate Seimone Augustus. Cheryl Reeve, Lynx coach and general manager, is also part of the coaching staff.
If playing for the Lynx and Team USA wasn’t enough, Fowles is also trying to finish up a degree in mortuary science at the American Academy McAllister Institute. It specializes in embalming, creation and funeral directing.
"I’m just prepping for national boards, which I’m trying to take after the season so it don’t be a hassle throughout the season because the season is packed as it is," Fowles said.
She’s preparing for life after basketball, but also not losing sight of the fact that there’s still work to do, more to accomplish. Team USA will be going for its ninth gold medal and seventh straight in Tokyo. Fowles will be going for her fourth straight gold medal, and knows as well as anyone there’s a standard to meet when it comes to USA basketball.
"You have to work for it. You have to go out there and you have to put in the work to be able to represent your team. That just keeps me motivated making sure I can go out there and compete with the best of the best, but at the same time not losing sight of what’s ahead of us," Fowles said.