Dearica Hamby is processing a lot of emotions: excitement, anger, sadness, fear.
Excitement for her future with the Los Angeles Sparks, anger at the way she was treated by her former team, sadness at having to leave the city and teammates she loves, and fear for the health of her unborn son.
On Wednesday, the 29-year-old spoke to the media for the first time since she was traded and shared her grievances with the Aces in a statement on her Instagram account.
In the post, Hamby claimed she was “lied to, bullied, manipulated and discriminated against” by the Aces organization, and that they were trading her because of her pregnancy.
Hamby was dealt to L.A. on Jan. 21 along with a 2024 first-round pick in exchange for “exclusive negotiating rights” to Amanda Zahui B. and a 2024 second-round pick. The WNBA Players Association announced that it would investigate Hamby’s claims in accordance with the league’s 2020 collective bargaining agreement as well as federal and state laws.
“I’m excited now,” Hamby said of playing in L.A. “Initially there was a lot of sadness, and I was very transparent about the way I was feeling when I spoke to KB (Karen Bryant) and Curt (Miller). It was a little bit up and down, a little triggering at times, but moving forward on the basketball side of things with the Sparks and I’m looking forward to it.”
Hamby didn’t seem to have much ownership over the situation — she said the Sparks were the only team she talked to when the Aces expressed their desire to trade her — but she says she felt instantly supported by the Sparks organization.
“They just kind of wrapped their arms around me,” she said. “During that moment, I was very emotional. I was crying on the phone and I think KB was about to cry on the phone, but I kind of fell in love with that.”
As Hamby comes to terms with leaving Las Vegas, the franchise that drafted her in 2015 when it was still the San Antonio Stars, her main concern is her health. The soon-to-be mother of two says her blood pressure was “through the roof” a few weeks ago.
“I’m dealing with the waves of emotions,” she said. “But I’m trying to remind myself to not be too stressed out. Just trying to remain calm for him (her son), and just make sure he gets here. Then I will deal with the aftermath.”
Hamby announced she was pregnant with a son she plans to name Legend during the Aces championship parade in September. She also has a daughter, 5-year-old Amaya, who was heavily featured in Aces promotional material during her time with the organization.
During the press conference on Wednesday, Hamby addressed her status as a well-known mother in the league and how that influenced her decision to make a public statement about the way the Aces treated her during the trade.
“My relationship with my daughter has been broadcasted, it has been shown to the public,” she said. “So if that can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. I am confident that the people, the person that said these things, did these things will be held accountable.”
Hamby went on to say that she will let the WNBAPA investigation happen before she decides whether to take any legal action of her own.
The two-time Sixth Player of the Year said leaving the Aces is “a hurtful situation,” but that she’s thankful for the fans who have supported her and hopes they will continue to support her former teammates. Two-time WNBA champion Candace Parker cited her own family in her decision to sign with the Aces in free agency this week.
“I know that they are feeling the pain just as much as I am,” she said of Las Vegas fans. “But don’t take it out on the girls. It’s not Candace’s fault, it’s not A’ja or Chelsea’s fault, so continue to support them.
“I’m going to miss them. I know that when I come back to play in Vegas, I will probably cry. It will be a very pivotal moment in my life, but I’m looking forward to meeting the new fans in L.A.”
Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.