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Former Sparks star Liz Cambage steps away from WNBA ‘for the time being’

Liz Cambage, right, announced that she is stepping away from the WNBA after she and the Los Angeles Sparks parted ways last month. (Keith Birmingham/The Orange County Register/AP)

After agreeing to part with the Los Angeles Sparks late last month, four-time WNBA all-star Liz Cambage announced Monday that she is stepping away from the league “for the time being,” writing on social media that she hopes the league will do its part “in creating safer environments and a stronger support system” for the players.

Cambage, a 6-foot-8 center who averaged 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25 games with the Sparks this season, had expressed frustration with the league in the past and added she planned to “focus on my healing and personal growth before providing clarification on past rumors.”

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Cambage and the Sparks parted in late July. “We want what’s best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably,” Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said in a news release at the time. “The Sparks remain excited about our core group and are focused on our run towards a 2022 playoff berth.”

The Sparks (13-23) finished last in the Western Conference and were led by interim coach Fred Williams after firing Derek Fisher in early June. When Cambage joined Los Angeles in February, she said, “It’s always been my dream to wear the Purple & Gold and play in LA,” according to the WNBA’s announcement of her signing.

WNBA all-star Liz Cambage and Los Angeles Sparks part ways

In her note Monday, Cambage apologized for departing “abruptly” and called playing for the team “a dream come true.”

Cambage, 30, played for the Las Vegas Aces in 2019 and 2021, when she averaged 15.9 and 14.2 points, respectively. She opted out of the pandemic-altered 2020 season.

She was drafted second overall in 2011 by the Tulsa Shock, which later moved to the Dallas area and rebranded as the Wings. She averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds and was named an all-star in her rookie campaign. Following the 2013 season, Cambage took a four-season hiatus from the WNBA before returning in 2018 with the Wings; she averaged career highs of 23.0 points and 9.7 rebounds that year.

Cambage has also played for Australia’s national team, winning bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London. Last year, Cambage was alleged to have directed racial slurs toward her opponents during a scrimmage with the Nigerian national team, though she disputed those claims. Before the Tokyo Olympics, she announced her decision to withdraw from the Games, citing mental health concerns related to the Olympic “bubble.”