The Storm is planning a pregame ceremony to recognize the career of reserve PG Shannon Johnson, who announced her retirement today. Actually Johnson, who was dubbed Pee Wee in grade school because of her diminutive stature on the volleyball team, was thinking about it all season and made the final call Thursday evening.
Johnson (pictured right by the Storm) will continue to play in overseas, however, honoring the second of a two-year deal in Spain this season. Her ultimate goal is to coach on the college level, seeking an assistant position once she completely retires.
“I’m at peace,” Johnson said. “My body needs the rest. I’ve had a great career in the WNBA, but it’s letting me know that it’s time. It’s very hard to walk away, but I feel very confident about my decision.”
Johnson has averaged 4.0 points and 1.5 assists for the Storm this season, playing an average of 18.2 minutes. In her best performance, she scored 16 points against the Silver Stars in San Antonio in the season finale on Saturday. She also had five assists and four steals.
Before coming to the Storm, Johnson played for the now-defunct Houston Comets. The 5-7 guard started 32 games for the Comets in 2008, averaging 7.7 points and 5.1. She ranks 13th in the WNBA in assists per game, averaging 4.0 in 352 games, and third in total assists (1,424) and fifth in total steals (494) over 11 seasons split between Orlando, Connecticut, San Antonio, Detroit, Houston and Seattle.
Johnson began her pro career coincidentally playing for Storm coach Brian Agler in the defunct ABL. They won two championships together in Columbus.
“She’s had a heck of career,” Agler said. “It’s tough for a player to continually play year-round. She’s had some knee issues. I would like to have her play well and end on a positive note.”
Johnson, 35, signed with Seattle to complete her final goal as a pro — winning a WNBA championship. She reached the WNBA Finals with Detroit, but lost to Phoenix.
The Storm (0-1) faces Los Angeles (1-0) in a decisive Game 2 tonight at KeyArena in the opening round of the playoffs. Seattle is trying not to be eliminated for the fifth straight postseason.
“What she brought to our team, the way she came ready to go every practice and every single game translated to the rest of us,” said Storm PG Sue Bird, who also won Olympic gold with Johnson in Athens. “She really wants to win a championship and I can speak for the team when I say we would love to help her achieve that goal.
“Tonight is a situation where we have to win. We don’t want this to be her last game. She doesn’t want it to be her last game. We have the motivation and that just puts a little bit more on it.”