Pon­dex­ter ready to move on

The News-Times - - SCOREBOARD -

NEW YORK — Cap­pie Pon­dex­ter knew it was time to re­tire from bas­ket­ball and move on to other things.

The two-time WNBA cham­pion an­nounced her re­tire­ment ear­lier this week on In­sta­gram and spoke with The As­so­ci­ated Press about her de­ci­sion.

“I’m go­ing all over the world, my mis­sion is to help every in­di­vid­ual, if you need help, I’m avail­able,” she said. “That’s my mis­sion in life, I have to com­plete that. I was put here to be big­ger than just bas­ket­ball. I un­der­stand that now and ready to take on the amaz­ing things that will come from it.”

Pon­dex­ter had a great bas­ket­ball ca­reer, av­er­ag­ing 16.4 points, 3.8 as­sists and 3.7 re­bounds over 13 years in the WNBA. She was drafted sec­ond by Phoenix in 2006 af­ter star­ring at Rut­gers. She av­er­aged 23.9 points, 4.8 re­bounds and 5.8 as­sists in the 2007 WNBA Fi­nals, when Phoenix beat Detroit in five games. The 5-foot-9 guard was big for the 2009 Mer­cury cham­pi­onship team when they beat the Fever in five games also.

“Ob­vi­ously win­ning the two cham­pi­onships in Phoenix gave me the con­fi­dence I needed to be an elite pro,” the 36-year-old said. “My fond­est mem­ory though would be tak­ing New York to al­most the WNBA Fi­nals. Sell­ing out MSG dur­ing the playoffs. The in­ten­sity with the fans, a sold out arena, play­ing in front of that. No one can take it that away from me.”

She was traded to New York in 2010 and played with the Lib­erty for five sea­sons be­fore get­ting traded to Chicago. Pon­dex­ter, who was hon­ored as one of the 15 great­est play­ers in WNBA his­tory in 2011, was hop­ing to try and win one more cham­pi­onship when she signed with Los An­ge­les be­fore last sea­son. She was waived by the Sparks in the mid­dle of the sea­son be­fore sign­ing with the In­di­ana Fever.

She said she was work­ing out this off­sea­son try­ing to fig­ure out where she might play this year. She nar­rowed it down to two teams, but af­ter speak­ing with her agent de­cided it was time to re­tire.

“I have so many won­der­ful mem­o­ries. I don’t have any re­grets. I was placed here to be big­ger than bas­ket­ball and help with a lot of things that I have to deal with my life,” she said. “Pa­tience, hard work, ad­ver­sity, I needed those things to help me pre­pare to where I’m headed now. I needed that. My only thing is that I knew that I would never touch mak­ing a mil­lion dol­lars in the WNBA. But I guar­an­tee my legacy will help a player reach a mil­lion dol­lars at one point in the WNBA.”

Pon­dex­ter also played over­seas in Rus­sia and Turkey, where she won four Turk­ish League cham­pi­onships. She also helped the U.S. win a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Jes­sica Hill / As­so­ci­ated Press

The Sparks’ Cap­pie Pon­dex­ter knew it was time to re­tire from play­ing bas­ket­ball and move on to other things in her life. The two-time WNBA cham­pion an­nounced her re­tire­ment on April 16.

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