Summitt: Depression played role in Holdsclaw's retirement

Updated: July 27, 2007, 10:05 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The depression Chamique Holdsclaw battled throughout her WBNA career probably played the biggest role in her decision to retire.

Tennessee's Pat Summitt, Holdsclaw's college coach, said Holdsclaw first told her she was considering retirement while she was playing with the Washington Mystics. Summitt, who has worked as a consultant for the Mystics, flew to Washington "as a coach and a friend" and spent time with Holdsclaw.

"I said, 'OK, you've got a game tomorrow. Let's just go play and see how you feel. If it's not in your heart, then you'll know,'" Summitt said at a Tennessee alumni event in Nashville on Thursday. "She told me after that game, 'Coach, it's just not in my heart.'"

Holdsclaw, a six-time WNBA All-Star, shocked fans and her team, the Los Angeles Sparks, when she retired in June after playing five games. Holdsclaw didn't give a reason for her retirement although she had earlier acknowledged bouts with depression.

She left the Mystics in July 2004 after seven seasons and played basketball in Spain before joining the Sparks in 2005. She later said she left the Mystics because depression caused her to become increasingly withdrawn from her team, coaches and confidantes.

Summitt said Holdsclaw hasn't decided on what to do in the future but for now is enjoying life and not being in a routine.

"She just feels like it's best for her not to play if she can't bring it all every night," she said.

Holdsclaw was the WNBA's No. 1 overall pick in 1999 after leading Tennessee to three straight NCAA titles.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press