Thursday, June 29, 2006

McCray Retires. Former Mystics player Nikki McCray announced late yesterday that she is retiring from the WNBA. Nikki, signed this season by the expansion Chicago Sky, was a star at Tennessee and then in the now defunct ABL. She left the ABL to become one of the two original players assigned to the Mystics when the team was created in 1998. Nikki's teammates here in DC for that inaugural 3-27 season included Heidi Burge, Keri Chaconas, Penny Moore, Murriel Page, and Alessandra Santos de Oliveira. (The BasketCases are breaking out into a cold sweat just remembering that summer.) The following season, Nikki, a huge crowd favorite in DC who was repeatedly voted into the All-Star Game, was joined by another former Lady Vol, Chamique Holdsclaw. Rumors flew for years over whether the two stars got along, but Mique has always maintained that they were and still are good friends. In 2002, when Nikki was traded to the Indiana Fever for the overall 4th pick in the draft, it was reported that Nikki said she'd done cartwheels when learning of the trade. Maybe so, but her career never really got rolling again after DC, as Nikki embarked on a tour of WNBA teams, playing for Indy, Phoenix and San Antonio before being picked up this year by Chicago. Nikki had this to say in announcing her retirement:

"I started in the WNBA with an expansion team in Washington and now I finish with an expansion team in Chicago, which is a great city. As a pioneer in this league, it has meant so much to me to have developed so many great relationships in the all the cities I have played in."

Nikki's Number 15 was the first Mystics T-shirt that the BasketCases ever wore . . .it's a little faded now. Nikki says she has her eye on joining the coaching ranks. The BasketCases wish Nikki success in her new career and all the best in life after the WNBA.


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