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Sparks coach praises ‘working mother’ Dearica Hamby after Aces controversy

Dearica Hamby played in all 40 games of the 2023 season for the Los Angeles Sparks. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby is an inspiration to “all working mothers,” Los Angeles Sparks coach Curt Miller said Sunday after his team’s season finale.

Hamby welcomed her son Legend in March, two months after her trade to the Sparks. Following the move, she claimed her former team, the Las Vegas Aces, had “discriminated against” her due to her pregnancy.

For the Sparks, Hamby played all 40 games of the 2023 WNBA season, averaging 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game.

“The W has incredible individual stories each season, but I would love to shout-out @dearicamarie!” he wrote on social media. “Dearica played in ALL 40-regular season games shortly after giving birth to her second child. She is a true inspiration to our entire league and all working mothers.”

Hamby responded, writing: “Thank you for believing in me to come back so soon.”

The 29-year-old forward also thanked her two children, daughter Amaya and son Legend. She posted two videos of them supporting her at home and watching her play.

After winning the 2022 WNBA title with the Aces, she announced her pregnancy during the championship parade. But after her offseason trade, she wrote a statement outlining the Aces’ treatment of her after she revealed her pregnancy, calling it “unprofessional and unethical.”

“I was told that I was ‘a question mark’ and that it was said that I said I would ‘get pregnant again’ and there was a concern for my level of commitment to the team,” she wrote.

After an investigation into Hamby’s claims, the WNBA suspended Aces head coach Becky Hammon without pay for the first two games of the 2023 season. The league also stripped the team of its 2025 first-round draft pick.

In announcing the Aces’ punishments, the WNBA confirmed that Hammon made comments to Hamby about her pregnancy in violation of the league’s Respect in the Workplace policies, but Hammon has denied Hamby’s specific claims.