Sports Outside the Beltway

Chamique Holdsclaw Retires Suddenly

Chamique Holdsclaw has announced her retirement from basketball, just a few games into the season.

Chamique Holdsclaw Retires Photo Los Angele Sparks' Chamique Holdsclaw drives to the basket past Minnesota Lynx's Tamika Williams during the first half of their WNBA Basketball game in Los Angeles,Friday, June 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Chamique Holdsclaw, a six-time WNBA All-Star who re-signed with the Los Angeles Sparks in February, stunned the team by retiring Monday. The 29-year-old forward had played in the Sparks’ first five games this season, averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Holdsclaw did not give a reason for ending her pro basketball career. “This was not an easy decision,” she said in a statement released by the team. “I put a lot of thought into it.”

Before joining the Sparks two years ago, Holdsclaw played seven seasons with the Washington Mystics, who made her the league’s top draft pick in 1999. She was the WNBA rookie of the year that season after leading Tennessee to three consecutive NCAA championships and twice winning national player of the year honors.

But the Mystics had only one winning season during Holdsclaw’s stint, losing in the Eastern Conference finals in 2002. She asked to be traded after dealing with depression. Holdsclaw didn’t talk publicly about that time, which came after the death of her grandmother who raised her.


The news was a jolt to the Sparks (3-2), who had already lost star center Lisa Leslie to pregnancy this season. Point guard Temeka Johnson has yet to play while recovering from offseason knee surgery. Cooper rejoined the team this season after coaching stints in the NBA and its Development League.

I’m not interested in women’s hoops and am frankly amazed that the NBA keeps subsidizing their unpopular women’s league. Still, Holdsclaw’s name is one I recognize, albeit from her days with the Lady Vols rather than her pro career. Indeed, I was surprised that she’s been in the WNBA as long as she has; it seems like only a couple years ago she was in college.

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