In their 22 years of existence, the Lynx have won thrillingly, populated Target Center with a loyal fan base, advocated for equal rights, protested the extrajudicial killing of black people by the police, and created a place of comfort for those discriminated against elsewhere.
That's a lot to pack into 22 years.
The Lynx packed all of that into one Sunday night.
Previously winless, the Lynx on Sunday came back from 14 down, and from five down with a little more than a minute left to play, to force overtime against one of the league's best teams before winning 79-74 over Connecticut.
The night proved that while the WNBA is the most talent-dense American sport — the best players in the world packed into 12 rosters — it is never just about basketball.
There was a moment of silence to honor George Floyd. During the national anthem, the Connecticut players knelt and the Lynx huddled at midcourt. And then the first WNBA player to openly identify as transgender and non-binary (not identifying exclusively as a man or woman) took charge of the team despite never having played with that team.
The New York Liberty waived Layshia Clarendon last week. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve tried to sign Clarendon in the offseason. With Lynx guard Aerial Powers out with a hamstring strain and spotty guard play part of the team's early problems, Reeve signed Clarendon to a replacement player contract.
Upon entering the game Sunday night, Clarendon immediately improved the Lynx's defense, which had been horrid in the first quarter. Then Clarendon settled the offense, began hitting big shots, hit an apparent game-winning three-pointer that was ruled to have come after time expired, then hit a three-pointer in overtime while leading the Lynx to a desperately needed victory.
Clarendon finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a plus-11 rating — second on the Lynx only to Bridget Carleton's plus-14.
Clarendon hugged teammates, conducted a television interview in the corner of the arena, and was the last player off the court, waving and smiling to fans who had remained long after the final buzzer.
It was the end of a whirlwind week. Clarendon had signed a two-year contract with the Liberty. Upon being cut, Clarendon packed, flew to California and was working out when notified that the Lynx were interested.
Then came COVID-19 protocols and tests. Clarendon finally joined the Lynx on Sunday morning for a shootaround. Sunday night, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve would call a play and Clarendon would say, "I don't know what that is."
After the game, Lynx wing Kayla McBride kept repeating that Clarendon was able to play at a pace that made the offense productive, and Reeve praised Clarendon's professionalism and savvy.
What was most striking about Clarendon's arrival is how routine it felt. Remember, the NFL, with all of its wealth, power and market dominance, was afraid to give a job to a talented quarterback who took a knee during the national anthem to protest the extrajudicial killing of Black people.
Yes, afraid. Terrified that the NFL might lose a few bucks or sponsors, or have to answer difficult questions.
The WNBA fearlessly has protested injustice and turned its activism into political power, particularly during the recent Senate races in Georgia.
Fearlessness is invaluable, whether you're running a team or changing the world.
"Incredible human being," Reeve said. "I've had a chance to be around Layshia with USA basketball. When I think about Layshia Clarendon, I think about all that is right with the WNBA and I think about courage, with Layshia as a nonbinary athlete, and the things that they would have to go through."
Reeve mentioned a Sports Illustrated story that detailed Clarendon's life, again using the word "Incredible."
"Layshia evolving to where [they are] now, to be seen and feel more comfortable in your own body, that's been quite the journey for them," Reeve said. "I'm just super proud. And I know the WNBA is super proud. And that's not the reason why Layshia is getting an opportunity with the Lynx.
"I needed a guard."