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From Heartbreak to Triumph: Dearica Hamby’s Inspiring Journey to Olympian and Three-Time All-Star

Updated: 2 days ago

What a difference a season makes. The emotional rollercoaster that followed after a trade sent Dearica Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks in January of 2023 was understandable.  

Hamby was drafted by the San Antonio Stars in the first round of the 2015 draft. Two years later, in February 2017, she gave birth to her first child, Amaya. That same year, the Stars moved to Las Vegas.

As the Aces began to emerge as a dominant force in the league, it was evident that Hamby found her stride with the team in the city she happily calls home. Two years after giving birth, she was named the WNBA's Sixth Player of the Year -- a title she would hold in 2019, 2020, and 2021.  Adding to her already impressive resume, Hamby was named an All-Star in 2021 and 2022.

From draft night to giving birth, then moving with the franchise that same year, the accolades she received proved she was putting in the work to help her team continue to rise. Dearica Hamby was another beautiful example of the perseverance and strength we often see from women in the league. She excelled at being a mother, wife, athlete, and teammate. While it was something many of us applauded from afar, trouble was brewing within.

After announcing her second pregnancy during the Aces 2022 championship parade, Hamby claimed that the Aces acted unprofessionally and unethically, including questioning whether her pregnancy was planned and implying she wouldn't be ready to play. Hamby believed these actions led to her being traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. 

Although the league investigated and found that the Aces violated workplace policies, resulting in a two-game suspension for coach Becky Hammon and the loss of a first-round draft pick in 2025​ — the damage was done.

Hamby was still visibly heartbroken in her first video call with the media. Fighting back tears, it was clear that her heart remained in Las Vegas, and so did her sense of home. "I'm not moving," she said during the interview.

Things would slowly get better. When asked how she bounced back from such an emotional time, Hamby said, "I chose to come to LA when all the trade stuff happened.  And, just when I came here they all just kind of wrapped their arms around me."

That love and support has paid off—not only for Hamby but for the entire Sparks organization. Head coach Curt Miller said that not only is Hamby the foundational player for the team, but she is also the mother figure for the team, helping to cultivate young talent in Cameron Brink, Rickea Jackson, and Li Yueru. 

There is no question Hamby is committed to the Sparks and the continued elevation of her game. Although bitter-sweet, Hamby can add Olympian to her list of accolades. She is the newest member of USA Basketball's 3x3 Women's National Team for the 2024 Olympic Games. Hamby replaces Brink, who suffered an ACL injury on June 18.

Dearica Hamby is a woman of her word. She came into this season saying she would play at an All-Star level, and that is precisely what she has done.  Prior to the Sparks' 82-80 loss against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday, coach Miller spoke about how Hamby has been an all-encompassing player this season.

"Dearica has had such a terrific year, just really, really special leading us on and off the court. Willingness at times, carrying us at times. . .you're seeing things that, someone who's a veteran in this league is still breaking her own records, the amount of threes she made in a half the other night, was really remarkable," he said.

Dearica Hamby has never cheated the game. The three-time All-Star, three-time Sixth Player of the Year, Olympian, and NBA Champion is a testament to what it means to do the work and push through—a lesson that can inspire anyone on or off the court.

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