Chamique leaves Sparks for personal reasons. To borrow a line from Richie Valens... Oh, Donna O (Orender)! Donna, could the WNBA have buried this news any deeper? Did we really have to learn about this first from an astute message board poster who happened to read the fine print in this week's WNBA Fantasy Game Report? Former Mystics star Chamique Holdsclaw, leaving a team again for undisclosed personal reasons with no indication "if" or when she will return -- this is a Fantasy Game issue, not WNBA news? Well, for the record, the BasketCases disagree. It's not an invasion of Chamique's privacy to simply report that she's left her team, but it IS news that fans of the league deserve to to be told. Only after hours of internet message board discussion of Holdsclaw's departure did the WNBA see fit to put anything on its homepage about what is surely the biggest W news of the day.
As for Chamique, the BasketCases wish her only the best. We don't know, nor do we feel entitled to know, what personal reasons account for her absence. We certainly hope it's nothing serious and we hope she returns soon. When Mique left the Mystics during the 2004 season there was a great deal of wild speculation, accusations and some downright nastiness spread around about her. (Yes, Mr. Wilbon, the BasketCases haven't forgotten.) Later, we all learned that Chamique was suffering from clinical depression. Anyone who has a family member, friend or co-worker who shares this illness likely understands how truly debilitating this condition can be. This isn't an illness brought on by playing on a team that loses more often than it wins. No, clinical depression is much, much more serious than that. D.C. native, Mo Currie, would probably tell us that losing the NCAA championship to Maryland this year in the final minutes was very "depressing". We expect that she would also tell us that the (non-clinical) depression she experienced hasn't prevented her from functioning in her daily life. That's the difference. This is not to say that Chamique is suffering another bout of clinical depression. But keeping in mind all the wrong-headed conclusions drawn about her the last time she left a team for personal reasons, for now, let's reserve judgment and just send her our prayers and support.
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Friday morning, May 19 , update:
"Chamique Holdsclaw, a three-time WNBA All-Star, left the Sparks on Sunday [May 14] for personal reasons. Sparks public relations coordinator Ashley King said Thursday there was no timetable for her return. Holdsclaw hasn’t practiced in five days."
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Friday afternoon, May 19, update:
Chamique Holdsclaw "has returned to the squad after a brief absence to attend to a personal matter, team spokeswoman Ashley King said on Friday."
Saturday, May 20, update; can it get any stranger?
"Sparks forward Chamique Holdsclaw, a three-time All-Star, will not be with the team for its WNBA season opener Sunday against Seattle while tending to a family matter, team officials said. There is no timetable for her return.
Coach Joe Bryant said Friday [May 19] that Holdsclaw left Los Angeles early this week with the team's permission. It was thought that she might return Friday. But Holdsclaw's situation, which Bryant would only say did not involve her directly, had not been resolved."