Chamique Shaunta Holdsclaw (born August 9, 1977) is a former professional basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) most recently under a contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars. She announced her retirement from the Los Angeles Sparks on June 11, 2007, though she eventually came out of retirement to play with the Atlanta Dream for the 2009 WNBA Season.
Holdsclaw finished her career with 3,025 points and 1,295 rebounds, making her the all-time leading scoring and rebounder at Tennessee in men’s or women’s history, the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in SEC women’s history, and the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in the NCAA tournament women’s history with 470 points and 197 rebounds. She was also only the fifth women’s basketball player in NCAA history to have 3,000 points (a list including Jackie Stiles of Southwest Missouri State, Patricia Hoskins of Mississippi Valley State, Lorri Bauman of Drake, Cheryl Miller of USC, and Cindy Blodgett of Maine). She is also one of five women’s collegiate basketball players to ever accumulate over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 assists and 300 steals (a list that includes teammate Tamika Catchings, Cheryl Miller of USC, Sophia Young of Baylor, and Armintie Price of Mississippi.) In 1998, Holdsclaw received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Holdsclaw also won the Naismith trophy for player of the year twice, in 1998 and 1999 and posted a 131–17 win/loss record during her remarkable career as a Lady Vol. In 2000 she was named Naismith’s Player of the Century for the 1990s and was also part of an ESPY award given to the Lady Vols as Co-Team of the Decade for the 1990s. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, Holdsclaw was named to the Final Four All Tournament team.
In 2006, Holdsclaw was named to a women’s collegiate basketball silver anniversary team for being picked as one of the 25 greatest players of the past 25 years. She was also picked as one of the 5 greatest players in the SEC of the past 25 years.
In the 1999 WNBA Draft, Holdsclaw was selected by the Washington Mystics 1st overall. After this selection, Chamique gained the distinction of being the first, and only, female athlete to appear on the cover of SLAM Magazine. Furthermore, Chamique was pictured in a New York Knicks jersey, implying that perhaps she was good enough to play in the NBA.
On March 21, 2005, Holdsclaw was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for DeLisha Milton-Jones.
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. As of late June, she was averaging 14.4 points per game and 7 rebounds per game.
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, the Atlanta Dream traded the 13th pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for the rights to Holdsclaw. Holdsclaw stated she definitely considered a return to the WNBA if healthy, and did. Holdsclaw has 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.
Holdsclaw is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Career highlights and awards
WNBA Rookie of the Year (1999)
6× WNBA All-Star (1999–2003, 2005)
3× All-WNBA Second Team (1999, 2001–2002)
2× WNBA rebounding champion (2002, 2003)
WNBA scoring champion (2002)
Sullivan Award (1998)
2× Naismith Award (1998, 1999)
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney National Team
FIBA World Championship for Women
Gold medal – first place 1998 Berlin Team Competition