Chamique Holdsclaw was called the Michael Jordan of Women’s Basketball. She dominated the courts winning 3 National Championships and being named the Naismith Player of the Century. She was 4-time All-American, World Champion, Olympic Champion and enjoyed an 11-year professional career, but no one knew the real battle she was waging…
Chamique Shaunta Holdsclaw is a former professional basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) most recently under a contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars. She announced her retirement from the Los Angeles Sparks on June 11, 2007, though she eventually came out of retirement to play with the Atlanta Dream for the 2009 WNBA Season.
Holdsclaw went to the University of Tennessee from 1995 to 1999, where she played under coach Pat Summit and helped to lead the Lady Vols to the women’s NCAA’s first ever three consecutive Women’s Basketball Championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The 1998 championship was Tennessee’s first ever undefeated season at 39–0 and also set an NCAA record for the most wins ever in a season. She also helped lead Tennessee to two SEC regular season titles in 1998 and 1999 and to three SEC tournament championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
At Tennessee, Holdsclaw was a four-time Kodak All-America, one of only six women’s basketball players to earn the honor. Holdsclaw finished her career with 3,025 points and 1,295 rebounds, making her the all-time leading scoring and rebounder at Tennessee in men’s or women’s history, the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in SEC women’s history, and the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in the NCAA tournament women’s history with 470 points and 197 rebounds. In 1998, Holdsclaw received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Holdsclaw also won the Naismith trophy for player of the year twice, in 1998 and 1999 and posted a 131–17 win/loss record during her remarkable career as a Lady Vol. In 2000, she was named Naismith’s Player of the Century for the 1990s and was also part of an ESPY award given to the Lady Vols as Co-Team of the Decade for the 1990s. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, Holdsclaw was named to the Final Four All Tournament team.
Holdsclaw was also a member of the US National team who traveled to Berlin, Germany in July and August 1998 for the FIBA World Championships. The USA team won a close opening game against Japan 95–89, then won their next six games easily. In the quarterfinals, Holdsclaw scored 20 points to help team advance. After trailing late in the final game, the USA held on to win the gold medal 71–65. Holdsclaw averaged 10.9 points per game, third highest on the team. Holdsclaw continued with the National team to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The USA won all eight games, including the gold medal game against host Australia to win the gold medal.
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8:35 “I remember walking on Nike’s campus and everyone had my shirt on…”
10:50 What it was like playing for Pat Sumiit
17:20 The problem with being an introverted sports star: “I’m not rude, just quiet”
22:50 The importance of having a place to feel vulnerable in athletics
26:05 “You had a bad day”: Chamique’s moment with Pat Summit
34:05 What Chamique is doing today to help the next generation heal and move forward
41:50 Chamique’s opinion on participation trophies
49:50 “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed”: on opening up and sharing your struggles with those who love you
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The ESPN Story on Chamique: When the Game is Over
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