Lisa Leslie Retires From WNBA

Oct. 9, 2009 – Women’s basketball legend, Lisa Leslie, announced her retirement today from the WNBA, stating she is leaving the sport with no regrets.

It will not be the last time fans will hear about Leslie. The game is too much a part of her.

“Today is my last day of playing professional basketball, but I will stay close to the game because I feel I need to be a part of it.”

“I feel great, because I have no regrets,” Leslie said.

“Every time I stepped out on the court, I played as hard as I could. I fought hard, I crashed the boards, I didn’t back down from anybody, I shared the ball and I was a great team player. You do your best and try to be the best role model you can be.

“Today is my last day of playing basketball professionally, but I have a wonderful husband and family. This is my retirement, but it’s just my transition, really, into life. I’m going to stay close to the game.”

“She was all over the place, and she was so good she’d make you not like her,” Bolton said, laughing. “I work a lot with kids, and I always tell them, ‘You want to be like Lisa Leslie.’ She can bring the ball up the court, she can rebound, she can shoot outside and inside.

“People would say to me, ‘Is Lisa Leslie mean?’ And I’d say, ‘She plays tough, but she’s a sweetheart of a person. She’s just as competitive as it comes.'”

“I was upset tonight, because I felt like I let Lisa down,” said Parker, who was held to six points Saturday. “It’s hard, because she’s been a mentor to me. We talked about how we’re always going to stay in touch, and how our kids are going to play doubles in Wimbledon together.

“Our paths aren’t done crossing; we’re going to be friends for life. She’s taken me under her wing, and I am going to miss her like crazy. I fortunately had the pleasure of playing with a legend. And at the end, I felt like she was consoling me more than I was her, because she’s at a place now where she’s happy with her decision.”

Leslie wants to run a basketball academy for girls and work in broadcasting. She won’t entirely rule out coaching someday and will remain a strong advocate for women’s sports. And she’s resolute in her belief that a pro athlete has many responsibilities other than just winning games.

“I hope to come in and talk to [WNBA] rookies in the future,” Leslie said. “There’s no kid that I’ve passed up and not signed an autograph for. It’s our duty. Also another important message is how we represent ourselves and how we carry ourselves.”

Saturday, after Leslie handed little Hope back to her mom, Bolton watched her walk away.

“The game is going to miss her,” Bolton said. “But she’s such a light, she’s going to make a difference whatever she does and wherever she goes.”