Behind a curtain in the bowels of Target Center, the Minnesota Lynx gathered as a team for one last time this season. A few thousand jubilant fans waited in the arena, watching a video introduction for the team that had just captured its second WNBA championship in three seasons.
On the big screen, fans read words like "Dynasty" and "Greatest Team In History."
"No pressure, guys!" finals MVP Maya Moore said to the group.
Whether they want the labels or not, the Lynx are being cast as the next empire in the league, and for good reason. They have made it to the finals for three straight years and twice came away with the title. Their 99 victories are the most in a three-season span in league history and this year they became just the second team to go 7-0 in the playoffs.
They have four All-Stars in a core that isn't changing anytime soon, and they are overflowing with the confidence that comes from so much success.
"It makes me excited because we have 80 percent of the definition covered," Moore said. "Great team. Great family. Great dominance. Now it's a matter of can we do it over and over and over again? The way you do that is one day at a time."
For the second time in three years, the Lynx paraded through downtown Minneapolis after sweeping the Atlanta Dream in the finals. For a sports market that has been wallowing in the struggles of the Twins and Vikings this season, the chance to celebrate a truly dominant team received an enthusiastic response.
Thousands of fans lined the streets of Nicollet Mall on a chilly day and followed the caravan of convertibles into Target Center for one last party.
Point guard Lindsay Whalen channeled Shaquille O'Neal with an elongated "Can you dig it!!!!" call to the crowd. Assistant coach Shelley Patterson, who was director of basketball operations for the Houston Comets in 1999 when they won the third of their four straight titles, told the crowd she had been hesitant to compare the two teams.