CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW entered the WNBA with the highest of expectations. "Her eventual appeal could rival what Michael Jordan was able to do," WNBA president Val Ackerman said after Holdsclaw, a two-time NCAA player of the year at Tennessee, was drafted first overall by the Washington Mystics in 1999. Eight years later Holdsclaw had her most Jordan-esque moment—just as he did in 1993, she stunned teammates with a sudden and seemingly premature retirement.
Holdsclaw, 29, quit the WNBA last week, five games into her third season with the Los Angeles Sparks. The 6' 2" forward, who had been averaging a team-leading 15.8 points, gave the Los Angeles Times an explanation that explained little. "I've been doing this for so long, I just want to do something else," she said, adding that she plans to travel and spend time with family.
This isn't the first time Holdsclaw has walked away. She mysteriously left the Mystics in 2004, revealing only months later that she had been suffering from depression. Under care of a psychiatrist, she traced that episode to the '03 death of her grandmother, who had raised her in Queens, N.Y., and the death of her grandfather a few months later.
Holdsclaw, who in 2006 took a two-week leave from the Sparks after learning both her father and stepfather had cancer, said her retirement wasn't a sign of a relapse. "I'm not depressed," she said. "I just want to kind of kick back."
June 24, 2007
Holdsclaw made six WNBA All-Star teams, but she never became her sport's Jordan. In one sense, that's good. His Airness always maintained the smooth image of a larger-than-life superstar; Holdsclaw's candor about her depression was, from an elite athlete, a rare show of vulnerability that may have helped her, and others too.
The Spanish league title, Real Madrid, with a 3--1 win over Mallorca in what was likely David Beckham's final professional game in Europe. Beckham, 32, had failed to win a championship in his first three seasons with Madrid, and he was dropped from the lineup in January after he signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS beginning this summer. But he rejoined Madrid and helped the team win its final eight games of the season. On Sunday, with his friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes watching from the stands, Beckham (below) showed he can still compete at soccer's highest level, coming within inches of scoring on three different free kicks. He left the game in the 66th minute with an apparent sprained ankle, but that did little to dampen his enthusiasm afterward: "Winning this tonight now puts to bed everything else."
A steroid test immediately after his split decision victory over Danny Batchelder last month, heavyweight James Toney. A former IBF middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion, the 38-year-old Toney, who weighed in at 229 pounds, tested positive for boldenone and stanazolol. Batchelder failed his test as well, testing positive for stanazolol and oxandolone. Both face one-year bans from boxing. This is Toney's second drug offense: In 2005 he tested positive for steroids after a win over WBC heavyweight champ John Ruiz. That bout was ruled a no-contest and Toney (below) served a 90-day suspension.
For ethics violations during his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case, Durham County, N.C., district attorney Mike Nifong. Last summer Nifong obtained rape indictments against three Duke players; the charges were dropped in April, and last week the North Carolina State Bar put Nifong on trial for withholding DNA test results from the players' attorneys and making misleading and inflammatory comments to the press. Last Friday, a day before he was disbarred, a tearful Nifong told a Raleigh courtroom that he was resigning: "It has become increasingly apparent ... that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice."
The U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis on Sunday, England's Lewis Hamilton, who the previous week became the first black driver to win a Formula One race (SI, June 18). The rookie, 22, now has seven top-three finishes in seven starts this season and is the circuit's points leader. "Coming into the season, being realistic, I never expected anything like this," Hamilton said. "I hoped maybe I'd get a podium at some point. This is just insane."
By Jamaican police, the investigation into the death of Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer, who is now thought to have died of natural causes. Woolmer, 58, was found dead in his Kingston hotel room after Pakistan's March 17 loss to Ireland in the cricket World Cup (PLAYERS, April 2). It was ruled that Woolmer was strangled, but last week a spokesman for the Jamaica Constabulary Force said police are "99 percent sure" Woolmer died of heart failure. Said Kingston pathologist Ere Seshaiah, who made the initial diagnosis, "I am sticking to my findings. He was murdered."
By Kate Ziegler, the world's oldest swimming record. Ziegler, 18, of Great Falls, Va., swam the 1,500-meter freestyle at the TYR Meet of Champions in Mission Viejo, Calif., in 15:42.54, lowering Janet Evans's 1988 mark by nearly 10 seconds. Ziegler (right) also won three other races at the meet. Evans holds the new oldest swimming record: her 1989 mark of 8:16:22 in the 800-meter freestyle.
Avalanche forward Pierre Turgeon, 37, ending his career after 19 seasons. Turgeon was chosen by the Sabres with the first overall pick in the 1987 draft and went on to score 515 goals and 1,327 points with Buffalo, the Islanders, Canadiens, Blues, Stars and, for the last two seasons, Colorado. (He ranks 27th on the NHL's alltime scoring list.) He won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1993 as the league's most sportsmanlike player and played in four All-Star Games.
For questioning by Atlanta police, Adam (Pacman) Jones, regarding his possible connection to an exchange of gunfire early Monday morning. Police believe the shooting, in which one bystander sustained a minor injury, stemmed from an argument that began at a strip club between Jones's entourage and another group. Some of Jones's group followed the other men in two cars, according to police; the Titans cornerback stayed behind in a third car. Said a police officer of Jones, "We do not have any charges on him. He wasn't there when the shooting occurred." Jones is under an NFL seasonlong suspension for his role in a February melee outside a Las Vegas strip club in which three people were shot.
They Said It
Mariners outfielder, on Seattle's trip to face the Indians:
"I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face because I'm lying."
43 Consecutive games in which Columbus Clippers outfielder Brandon Watson had a hit through Sunday, breaking the International League hitting streak record set by Jack Lelivelt in 1912.
44 Years since there had been 1--0 games at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field on the same day before the Red Sox won and the Cubs lost by that score last Saturday.
93, 246 Combined age in years and days of the Mets' Julio Franco (48) and Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens (44); when Franco faced Clemens last Friday, it was the oldest batter-pitcher matchup since 1933.
5 Consecutive years that Wisconsin-Madison has won the American Society of Civil Engineers' National Concrete Canoe Competition; the Badgers beat out 21 other schools in Seattle last Saturday.
244 Career home runs the Blue Jays' Frank Thomas has hit as a DH, breaking the major league record held by Edgar Martinez.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Redskins rookie LaRon Landry missed practice last week after being shot in the groin during a team paintball outing.