Liz Cambage has announced she has made the decision to “step away” from the WNBA “for the time being” as her professional basketball career hangs by a thread.
It comes after Cambage and the Los Angeles Sparks parted ways late last month in a mid-season “contract divorce” on the eve of the WNBA playoffs.
Order ‘An Evening with Shaquille O’Neal’ PPV – an uncensored interview live on stage in Australia 7PM AEST 25 Aug on Main Event on Kayo Sports and Foxtel
“It is with support that we share Liz Cambage’s decision to terminate her contract with the organization,” Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said in a press release at the time.
“We want what’s best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably. The Sparks remain excited about our core group and are focused on our run towards a 2022 playoff berth.”
Now Cambage has publicly responded to her surprise departure from the Sparks for the first time.
“While I’ll miss rocking the purple and gold, I’ll be taking this time to focus on my healing and personal growth before providing clarification on past rumours,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
“Thank you to all my supporters, family and friends for all the love and light you continue to surround me with.”
The 30-year-old appeared to take a subtle swipe at “rumours” around her abrupt departure from the Sparks and said she would have more to say on the matter in the future.
“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,” she said.
“Playing for the Sparks was a dream come true and I’m honored to have shared the court with such amazing ladies for as long as we did. I’m sorry to have left abruptly and I wish it would have ended on a different note.”
Cambage is a four-time WNBA All-Star but her professional basketball career is now hanging by a thread.
The Sparks were reportedly the only team willing to sign Cambage during the off-season, meaning there may be no takers left in the American league for the center, who averaged 13 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25 games with the Sparks this season .
Damning details have come to light in the wake of Cambage’s exit from the Sparks, with issues arising before the season began, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Cambage had requested to wear a retired jersey number, before turning her attention to a number that belonged to current player Amanda Zahui B.
Zahui B. declined Cambage’s request, but the Aussies insistence saw management wilt and hand over the number 1 jersey. Zahui B. only learned the news via social media.
The handling ruffled feathers among the team.
In film sessions Cambage repeatedly threw her teammates under the bus and blast them for not getting her the ball enough.
Cambage stormed out of the locker room after playing her last game for the Sparks against her former team the Las Vegas Aces on the weekend.
“I can’t do this anymore. Best of luck to you guys,” she stated before storming out, sources with knowledge of her departure told Yahoo.
Interim head coach Fred Williams said Cambage struggled with conditioning and facing double and triple-team match-ups, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Cambage made comments about her intentions to leave the Sparks to multiple people within the organization, according to Girls Talk Sports TVwhich reported “chemistry issues” among Los Angeles players that date back to late May.
Cambage’s career has been plagued by controversy in recent years. She pulled out of the Opal’s Olympic campaign last year after allegations she used a racial slur towards Nigerian players during a warm-up game.
Opals captain Jenna O’Hea confirmed in May Cambage had told the Nigerian players: “Go back to your third world country.”
News Corp revealed she physically lashed out at Nigerian players and referred to her opponents as “monkeys”, which Cambage has denied.
The Australian has slammed the Opals and said she had “zero” interest in representing her country at this year’s World Cup.
In light of Cambage’s departure from the Sparks, footage emerged of an awkward press conference in July, where she is seated next to Sparks teammates, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike.
In the video, the Ogwumike sisters — who are Nigerian — can be seen squirming uncomfortably and even rolling their eyes as Cambage speaks about her return from Covid-19