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It is easy enough to guess what the Lynx are celebrating this weekend as they honor the 25th anniversary of the franchise.

The four WNBA titles, the All-Stars, MVPs and Hall of Famers, the playoff appearances and winning seasons, the most successful professional sports franchise in state history.

The list doesn't end there.

What is being celebrated most is the day-in, day-out fight the Lynx have waged for 25 years to have those titles, wins, Hall of Famers and MVPs mean something more.

The hard-fought battle for acceptance.

Cheryl Reeve got her start in the WNBA as an assistant with the Charlotte Sting in 2001, four years after the league debuted in 1997, and worked with the Cleveland Rockers and Detroit Shock before taking over as the Lynx head coach in 2010.

"When I think about the early years, there wasn't a safe space," said Reeve, who is also the team's president of basketball operations. "There weren't a lot of people, be it coaches or executives, doing what [the Lynx] did. I had seen times that we were treated just awfully by the owner that owned the team. Not being able to practice in certain places or at certain times. Just not feeling supported. Just completely discarded.

"So what you develop, I know for me that when you get to a certain age, your level of care of being cautious goes out the window."

It was in that space that the Lynx flourished. They cultivated a team where players, executives and coaches can fight for causes like racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights. Just as importantly, they have done that while building one of the top fan bases in the WNBA.

"I said when I was hired that I wanted in the worst way that my success was not going to be wins and losses," Reeve recalled. "What I wanted more than anything was for [owner Glen Taylor's] investment to turn into not a charity, not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's great for business."

Reeve pointed to the recent news that the Seattle Storm were valued at a league-record $151 million and to a $75 million funding round by the WNBA in 2022 as markers of even more room for growth.

It is in this idea that a sports team can promote social activism while also being valued that the Lynx see a cornerstone of their identity after 25 years.

"People don't always think of sports being bigger than sports and bigger than wins and losses, but for us it's why we do what we do," said Carley Knox, the Lynx president of business operations. "It's inspiring future generations, it's inspiring action to speak up and be unapologetic, and to change the world ... yes, I'm proud of winning four champions in seven years, of being a dynasty, but I am more proud of the work we have done off the court."

Katie Smith has been around the Lynx since their inception. Now the associate head coach, she was also the team's first star. Smith joined the club in 1999 after the ABL, a different professional league that was founded in 1996, folded and the Lynx were awarded an expansion franchise.

"Being there initially and the hype and the fans and Glen getting on board early and being one of those pioneers of the WNBA ... we went out every night and really competed, we knew our margin for error was so small," Smith said. "We took a lot of pride in how we went about our business and how we played."

Smith would produce one of the best careers in WNBA history. Looking at the league now, she acknowledges its incredible development but sees room for more.

"Just starting to up the bar and getting people on board that treat it like what it is, invest in it, make it into something [bigger]," she said. "I'm hoping this thing blows up and we can say we're just like the NBA someday and places are packed."

The success of the college game has skyrocketed the past few seasons with stars like Aliyah Boston, Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Paige Bueckers. The Lynx's Target Center home has been at the epicenter, hosting the NCAA Women's Final Four in 2022 and the Big Ten women's tournament last year.

"Women's sports, women's basketball, it has changed so much in these 25 years," Smith said. "On TV, the exposure, media, the high-profile athletes, what the game pays, it has grown to a level that I don't know if we knew it would happen."

When Reeve sees that growth, she sees the Lynx history of pushing for more.

"Society has changed and sports is a microcosm of society," she said. "It's not without those moments of courage to use your voices. It's not going to come just all on its own, just because. We had to force the change."

That change, as much as anything else the franchise has accomplished, is cause for celebration — and excitement for the next 25 years.