Tina Thompson to retire following 2013 season

Tina Thompson, the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, will retire after the 2013 season.

The Seattle Storm forward made the announcement Friday.

"Basketball has been a safe haven, a protector, a comfort zone and a provider, as well as one of my life's joys," said Thompson. "I am forever grateful for my WNBA journey. I have experienced things I could never have imagined or dreamed of. I started this game at the age of nine; now at 38 my journey is coming to a close. I have an 8-year-old son and I am so thankful that Dyllan has been able to grow up in and share this journey with me. It has truly been a blessing and I am grateful for the experiences, both good and not so good. Those experiences have helped shape me into the woman I am today, the woman I am very proud to be. As I step into this next chapter of my life I will approach it with the same passion. It has been a great ride."

The 38-year-old Thompson will end her career as the WNBA record holder in points scored, minutes played and games started. Currently, Thompson has 7,018 points, logged 15,129 minutes and 437 games started.

Thompson was selected No. 1 overall in the first round of the inaugural 1997 WNBA draft by the Houston Comets, following a storied career at the University of Southern California. She led USC to three NCAA tournaments and one Elite Eight appearance.

An eight-time All-Star and four-time WNBA champion, Thompson has career averages of 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, with Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle.

In 45 career playoff games, Thompson has averaged 13.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

2013 is Thompson's 17th season in the WNBA.

"Tina Thompson is not only the all-time leading scorer, but one of the all- time greatest players and competitors to play in the WNBA," said Storm head coach and general manager Brian Agler. "She was a major component to the success and championships of the Houston Comets. She has always represented the WNBA in a very professional and respectful manner."