MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Lynx returned home to Minnesota Saturday afternoon to hundreds of fans at the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport in a homecoming fit for champions.
Fans began chanting before the team appeared on the escalator, but once the fans saw their world champions and the trophy, they erupted into cheer.
The Lynx swept the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Finals in a 73-67 victory Friday. It’s been a long time coming for Minnesota sports fans, but the victory marked the state’s first world championship since 1991.
As soon as they walked through the doors, the Lynx were ready to show their fans some love.
“We love our fans,” said Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin. “We love them. This is outrageous.”
Lynx fan’s love their team too. Amy Briggs said she appreciates the attitude the Lynx take toward their fans and the game.
“The best part about it is these ladies are so humble, and they are so approachable,” Briggs said. “They are so grateful to play the game, and they do it for the love of the game.”
As the WNBA champions mingled with fans, they signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Even Gov. Mark Dayton took time to congratulate the Lynx.
“They are great role models for our girls,” Dayton said. “They are great role models for old men like me, because they show what happens when you dedicate yourself to a championship and you work together as a team.”
Some players said they weren’t prepared for such a homecoming.
“This is great. This is crazy right now,” said Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but it feels great.”
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeves said that from the start she knew she had a special group of athletes.
“They are great people at the core of who they are,” she said. “They have tremendous respect for each other and respect for the game, and they are incredibly talented.”
Fans are already talking about a repeat of this year’s performance, and the players said they believe anything is possible.
If you missed greeting the Minnesota Lynx at the airport, you have a chance to celebrate with the WNBA champions next week.
On Tuesday, there will be a parade down Nicollet Mall at 11:30 a.m. That’ll be followed by a rally at Target Center at 12:15 p.m.
Lynx tickets for the 2012 season are now available.