Napheesa Collier named Minnesota Professional Athlete of the Year

Another honor in a busy 2019

As if Lynx forward Napheesa Collier needed another award, she was named Minnesota Professional Athlete of the Year by Sports Minneapolis on Wednesday. The award acknowledges local athletes who make a difference both on and off the court.

Collier certainly made an impact on the court by starting every game as a rookie, just the fifth first-year player in franchise history to do so. Her numbers of 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game while swatting nearly two shots per game were invaluable to the Lynx. The fact that she did so efficiently, hitting 49 percent from the field and 36.1 percent on 3s, made her a lock for Rookie of the Year and WNBA All-Rookie.

As a result of her on-court contributions, the Lynx made the playoffs in a season when many people expected them to take a step back in Maya Moore’s absence.

Making a difference all over

She also ingratiated herself in the Minneapolis community by volunteering with a number of organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and held private movie screenings at the team’s facility for HopeKids, an organization helping families with children fighting life-threatening medical conditions.

Collier and her mentee from Big Brothers Big Sisters spent time together at Lynx practices and lunch at the team facilities. This was a partnership with the charity and the Lynx’s Dream Team that pairs a player with a child from the program to be honored before games and participate in team practices and community service events.

We know Collier for her excellence on the basketball court, but her positive influence off the floor can benefit the community for years to come. Anyone who has had someone they look up to take an interest in them knows just how impactful these interactions can be.

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