‘If that can happen to me, that can happen to anybody’
Dearica Hamby has opened up about her longtime team’s “emotional” trade. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Two weeks after her transfer from the Las Vegas Aces to the Los Angeles Sparks was confirmed, Dearica Hamby addressed reporters at her introductory press conference. Not yet moved to Los Angeles, the two-time Sixth Player of the Year addressed questions about the “emotional” trade virtually.
The WNBPA is currently investigating Aces’ handling after Hamby claimed she was “discriminated against” due to her second pregnancy. Referencing her role as the “mother of the league,” the 6-foot-3 forward spoke about the implications of her experience.
“My relationship with my daughter was aired,” she said. “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
The Aces highlighted Hamby’s role as “Amaya’s mom” and often featured the two together in other social media and team content.
The franchise has been quiet about the investigation but active in free agency, acquiring powerhouses Candace Parker and Alysha Clark.
According to a statement Hamby posted on Instagram, the Aces promised her things to “woo” her into signing a contract extension ahead of last season. They allegedly accused her of signing when she knew she was pregnant for the second time and questioned her commitment to the sport before finally trading her.
Hamby was Las Vegas’ longest-serving player last season. She played there for her entire eight-year career and expressed a desire to be back for the start of the WNBA season in May after her March due date.
During the press conference, she expressed positive feelings to the fans, her former teammates and was hesitant to answer whether she would take legal action against the team.
“I love Vegas fans. I kind of watched her grow, watched my daughter grow,” she said. “Don’t pick on the girls. It’s not Candace [Parker’s] fault; it’s not A’ja [Wilson] or Chelsea [Gray’s] fault.”
Looking forward to Los Angeles
Regarding the timing of his comeback, Hamby said his plan is to “do what feels right to him.” Staying ‘very active’ and doing physiotherapy twice a week, she is focused on staying as stress-free as possible for her unborn son.
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She made it clear that the job was emotionally taxing on her, adding that she cried on the phone the first time she spoke to new Sparks head coach Curt Miller.
Miller previously coached the Connecticut Sun and spoke about Hamby’s reception ahead of his introductory press conference.
“Support is the big word. For Dearica, my track record in Connecticut, it was really important for families to feel supported – from loved ones to partners to kids. I had a locker room that welcomed kids into the locker room in Connecticut, they travel on the team bus,” Miller said. “Ultimately the big word comes down to supporting – supporting them and making them feel like their families are a part of this and not just as a player. Really excited, I had some amazing first conversations with Dearica, and I can’t begin to express our excitement for her to be with the Sparks.”
Hamby said free agent Nneka Ogwumike was also important in her decision to go through with the trade, as she would have to re-sign with the Sparks.
“Nneka has been very supportive of me from the very beginning,” she said of the current WNBPA president.
Hamby will join a talented team in Los Angeles, which includes Ogwumike, a former No. 1 draft pick and WNBA MVP. The Sparks also feature Lexie Brown, Jasmine Thomas and Stephanie Talbot.