Dearica Hamby on Aces' alleged pregnancy discrimination: ‘If that can happen to me, that can happen to anybody’
Two weeks after confirmation of her trade from the Las Vegas Aces to the Los Angeles Sparks, Dearica Hamby addressed reporters during her introductory news conference. Not yet moved to Los Angeles, the two-time Sixth Player of the Year addressed questions virtually about the "emotional" trade.
The WNBPA is currently investigating Aces management after Hamby claimed she was “discriminated against” due to her second pregnancy. Referencing her role as the “mother of the league,” the 6-foot-3 forward spoke to the implications of her experience.
“My relationship with my daughter’s been broadcasted,” she said. “If that can happen to me, that can happen to anybody.”
The Aces highlighted Hamby's role as “Amaya’s mom” and often featured the two together in other social media and team content.
Mom. All-Star. Champ. 🏆
We've got @dearicamarie for this week's 𝙒𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙥𝙖𝙥𝙚𝙧 𝙒𝙚𝙙𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙙𝙖𝙮! Save it📲 pic.twitter.com/pHNjUdILzV
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) November 9, 2022
The franchise has been silent regarding the investigation but active in free agency, acquiring powerhouses Candace Parker and Alysha Clark.
According to a statement Hamby posted on Instagram, the Aces promised her things to "entice" her to sign a contract extension before last season. They allegedly accused her of signing while knowing she was pregnant for a second time and questioned her commitment to the sport before ultimately trading her.
Hamby was Las Vegas' longest-tenured player last season. She played there for the entirety of her eight-year career and expressed a desire to be back for the start of the WNBA season in May after her due date in March.
In the news conference, she extended positive sentiments to the fans, her former teammates and was hesitant to respond about whether she would be pursuing legal action against the team.
"I love the Vegas fans. Kind of watched me grow up, watched my daughter grow up,” she said. "Don't take it out on the girls. It's not Candace [Parker’s] fault; it's not A'ja [Wilson] or Chelsea [Gray’s] fault."
Looking forward to Los Angeles
Regarding the timeline of her return, Hamby said her plan is “to do what feels right.” Staying “very active” and doing physical therapy twice a week, she is focused on staying as stress-free as possible for her unborn son.
She made it clear the trade was emotionally taxing for her, adding that she cried on the phone her first time speaking to newly hired Sparks head coach Curt Miller.
Miller previously coached the Connecticut Sun and spoke about welcoming Hamby before her introductory news conference.
"Supportive is the big word. For Dearica, my track record in Connecticut, it was really important that families feel supported — that's from significant others to partners to children. I've had a locker room that welcomed children into the locker room in Connecticut, they travel on the team bus," Miller said. "Ultimately, the big word comes back to support — supporting them and making them feel that their families are a part of this and not just as a player. Really excited, have had incredible early conversations with Dearica, and can't begin to express our excitement for her to be with the Sparks."
Hamby said free agent Nneka Ogwumike was also important in her decision to follow through with the trade, as she is expected to re-sign with the Sparks.
“Nneka's been very supportive since the very beginning," she said of the current WNBPA president.
Hamby will join a talented roster in Los Angeles, which includes Ogwumike, a former No. 1 draft pick and WNBA MVP. The Sparks also boast Lexie Brown, Jasmine Thomas and Stephanie Talbot.