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Dearica Hamby gets championship ring but Aces cruise to victory

Dearica Hamby poses with her daughter Amaya, 6, during the WNBA championship ring ceremony for the 2022 Las Vegas Aces. (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby was welcomed back to Las Vegas with a standing ovation Saturday as the Aces received their 2022 WNBA championship rings.

The 29-year-old forward was traded in January to the Los Angeles Sparks, who lost 93-65 to the Aces on the night of their banner-raising ceremony.

The game also marked the return of Aces head coach Becky Hammon as well, who was suspended for the first two games of the season following a WNBA investigation into the circumstances surrounding Hamby’s departure. Following the trade, Hamby criticized the “unprofessional and unethical way” the team treated her due to her pregnancy. She gave birth to a baby boy in the offseason.

The WNBA suspended Hammon for making comments to Hamby about her pregnancy in violation of the league’s Respect in the Workplace policies. The league also rescinded the Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick due to promises of “impermissible benefits” made to Hamby during her contract negotiations.

Despite the rocky end to her tenure in Las Vegas, Hamby received a warm welcome from the home crowd as she accepted her championship ring. She played for the franchise from 2015 to 2022.

“Obviously a moment that I know I should probably be proud of and embrace,” Hamby told the Associated Press before the game. “I mean, me getting a ring is special, but I’m going to do it for the fans.”

Hamby’s former teammates were happy to share the honor with her.

“I feel like it was a great moment for her to have, a great moment for us to share with her,” Aces star A’ja Wilson said. “We don’t win the ring without [Dearica]. I’m not gonna not say that because it’s true. So it’s very great she could have that moment and share it with her two children and her mom and her sister there. And it was really good to see her.”

If Hamby and the Sparks were looking to spoil ring night, though, they failed to do so. The shorthanded lineup, which was without Chiney Ogwumike, Jordin Canada and Layshia Clarendon, among others, fell to the Aces. Wilson led Las Vegas with 23 points and 6 rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting.