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How the WNBA reacted to Liz Cambage stepping away

Liz Cambage during a Las Vegas Aces vs. Phoenix Mercury game
Liz Cambage during a Las Vegas Aces vs. Phoenix Mercury game

English-born Australian basketball player Liz Cambage announced that she was retiring from the WNBA “for the time being” via Instagram on Aug. 15. The move was predicted a few weeks earlier.

Cambage, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, was playing for the LA Sparks until late July, when she was released by the team following a “contract divorce.” This came five months after the two parties agreed to a one-year contract.

In 25 games for the Sparks, she averaged 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Before joining the Sparks, Cambage played in the Australian Women's National Basketball League for the Southside Flyers. She also had several stints with teams in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.

However, in a statement announcing her retirement from the WNBA, the star called out the league. This drew attention to the kind of working relationship Cambage had with the league.

“I’ve decided to step away from the league for the time being and I’m hopeful that the WNBA will do their part in creating safer environments and a stronger support system for their players,” Cambage’s statement said.

Another facet that got people wondering about the relationship between the WNBA and Cambage was the league’s reaction to the retirement announcement.

The day Cambage announced her retirement was the day Kia Vaughn, a 13-year veteran, also announced her retirement from the league. Both veterans used the same medium, Instagram, to present their statements.

However, hours after Vaughn made her announcement; the WNBA took to its social media handles to thank her for playing in the league. But the WNBA did not show the same love to Cambage, who spent six seasons in the league.

The league's immediate reaction to Vaughn's retirement, and its decision to not speak on Cambage's retirement, left questions in the minds of many.

Kia Vaughn has announced her retirement from the #WNBA 🧡Thank you for everything, Kia 💐 https://t.co/hfUsZIpLmi

Cambage, a four-time All-Star, has been a critic of the league. She was vocal about the league’s compensation of players and also the travel difficulties players face.

In February 2022, Cambage took issue with Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon reportedly receiving a $1 million salary. The contracts of top-notch players are less than $230,000.

ahhh yes the @WNBA, where a head coach can get paid 4X the highest paid players super max contract. lmao and y’all think imma spend another season upgrading my seat on a flight to get to games out of my own pocket.

For some, Cambage’s criticism could be the reason the league didn’t want to have anything to do with her.

Meanwhile, the star promised to address rumors that emerged during her days in the league in the coming days.

The Aussie said she will be using her post-WNBA days to focus on her personal development and healing.

“I’ll be taking this time to focus on my healing and personal growth before providing clarification on past rumors,” Cambage said in her statement.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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