Rebekkah Brunson: ‘I Don’t Stop’
Long overdue props for the Lynx star.
Instantly, she earns my respect.
If I’m honest, I’d probably want some attention or recognition if I were a player like Brunson. After all, there’s just not many players like her in the women’s game today. Not only does she do the dirty work for the Lynx, she actively deflects credit and continues to stay hungry each and every game.
It takes a special player to have that mindset every night. Brunson is, perhaps, the most fundamentally sound player around the basket (both offensively and defensively) in the WNBA today.
Don’t believe me? Watch her.
When you do, be sure to look closely at her footwork in the paint. Watch what she does when the opposing team puts a shot up. Watch her force herself into perfect position for the board. It’s rare to see a player take so much pride in properly boxing out another player, but it’s clear that Brunson takes every rebound personally.
If a ball is in her vicinity, she’s going to grab it.
No questions asked.
Even more impressive? Playing on a team with superstars like Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, and Maya Moore, Brunson has arguably become the most important cog in Minnesota’s wheel. The Lynx are currently 13-4, sit atop the competitive Western Conference, and have won six games in a row (and eight of their last 10). In the last six games (all wins) Brunson has averaged an efficiency rating of +19.07.
And that’s why she has my early vote for MVP.
“I’m enjoying it,” Brunson humbly says. “A lot of the attention goes to the other players but that’s how I like it. We’re having a great season and that’s really all that matters. I do what a lot of people don’t want to do. It’s easy to score and be productive offensively but it’s not easy to play defense, rebound, and be physical. I’m more blue-collar and I try to play within myself.”
Although Brunson is garnering a lot of attention for her play in 2011 (12.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 55% shooting), she’s been doing the same things each of her eight years in the WNBA with the (now defunct) Sacramento Monarchs and over the last two seasons with the Lynx. In a league where players like Brunson often get overlooked, she hasn’t felt the need to modify her aggressive style or mentality.
Rather than change, Brunson continues to perfect her craft.
“I always want to do more,” says a motivated Brunson. “I’ll hit the weights, the pool, do more cardio…anything and everything. If I’m not working, someone else is.”
It goes against journalistic code, but I absolutely love players like Brunson; players who put in the time, work, and effort for, literally, years without actively seeking accolades or demanding popularity. There’s something widely appealing about a player that goes to work each night, taking and giving a beating, without asking for anything in return.
Brunson’s altruistic attitude isn’t just for show; she is one of the more actively involved members of the WNBA in the community. It’s been said previously that the minute you realize you’re humble, you’re not. Yet, like her game, Brunson doesn’t give back for the props or recognition; she does it because that’s just the type of person she is.
“Coming up, people gave me a lot,” Brunson reflects. “I didn’t have the ideal situation growing up so people helped me out. That’s what I want to be to someone else. I want to show others the ropes and assist in any way I can. Young people need guidance and I hope I can be that to someone.”
Quite simply, the type of player Brunson is is a dying breed. Now, with more mainstream attention focused on offensive prowess and how many points you can score, it’s easy to take for granted Brunson’s toughness and significance to her team.
Still, none of this matters to Brunson.
“I stay aggressive,” Brunson says confidently. “When people focus on boxing me out to get the board, I don’t stop. I can’t stop. I’ll always have that never-die attitude. I take pride in it.”