Chamique Holdsclaw was another one of Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols who was a household name around Knoxville for several years.
Born Chamique Shaunta Holdsclaw on August 9, 1977, who was the first overall draft into the WNBA in 1989 by the Washington Mystics. She played for the Mystics until 2004. Afterwards she played for the L.A. Spartks from 2005-2007, the Atlanta Dream in 2009 and the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2010.
She began her basketball career at Christ The King Regional High School in Queens, New York. She led the team to four straight New York State Championships.
At Tennessee she helped 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.
In May 2006, Holdsclaw took a sudden two-week leave from playing for the Sparks, but later clarified that this was due to the serious illnesses of her father and stepfather. On June 11, 2007, only a few weeks into the 2007 WNBA season, she surprisingly announced she was retiring and did not immediately provide any explanation as to her sudden departure.
On December 17, 2008, she was traded to the Atlanta Dream. She found herself to be a constant part of the team’s offense and a starter that season, despite an injury that kept her out several games toward the end of the season. However, she returned just in time for one game in the playoffs. The Dream lost to the Detroit Shock.
On May 19, 2010, she was released from the Dream after requesting a trade and did not report to the team. Two days later, she signed with the San Antonio Silver Stars.
It is a well-known fact that Holdsclaw has suffered with clinical depression throughout her career. She wrote in her autobiography Breaking Through: Beating the Odds Shot after Shot (2012, that she had suffered depression during her professional basketball career, and attempted suicide on one occasion in 2006 by overdosing on her depression meds.
But what is most shocking is the latest news concerning Holdsclaw.
She apparently followed her ex-girlfriend. Jennifer Lacy, to a friend’s house, where she proceeded to smash the windows of Lacy’s car with a baseball bat. She then fired a 9-mm pistol into the vehicle, before fleeing. The bat broke out the window on the driver’s side and the rear passenger window on the same side. Holdsclaw stuck the pistol in the rear driver’s side door and fired it across the SUV.
Lacy was in the driver’s seat when Holdsclaw fired the gun, Atlanta police spokesman Officer John Chafee said. Lacy was not injured.
Holdsclaw turned herself into the police and was charged with aggravated assault, damage to property and reckless conduct and was being held on $100,000 bond. Holdsclaw appeared before a judge at the Fulton County Jail and was ordered to wear an ankle monitor and stay away from Jennifer Lacy as conditions for her release.
Chamique has no record of ever trying to hurt anyone before. Only herself.
Her real dip into depression came in 2002, when her beloved grandmother, June Holdsclaw, died of a heart attack.
She went to therapy, tried to understand why her grief went beyond the rational world.
“You have somebody who’s a constant in your life,” Chamique said in an interview with The News after June Holdsclaw’s death. “She was my safe haven. She told me, ‘Relax. Stay a kid.’ She taught me everything I needed to know in life. She taught me table etiquette, everything. This was the person I always wanted to please, I needed her approval.”
All of her securities are gone. First her grandmother and then her former coach and mentor, Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with Alzeheimer’s and even her basketball career seems to have faded away from her.
Jennifer Lacy said that she and Holdsclaw dated for four years and that she, not Holdsclaw broke it off last year. Although Lacy says she is not seeing anyone else, she believes that the breakup is what sent Holdsclaw over the edge.
Friends say that Jennifer is upset and embarrassed by the situation, but hopes that Chamique gets the help she needs.
Let’s hope that this very talented, very deserving, young lady can exercise her demons and get back on the path of a healthily mental outlook.
By Nancy Morris