- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Chamique Holdsclaw spoke publicly for the first time yesterday since mysteriously leaving the Washington Mystics last week but would not reveal what is bothering her.

However, the star forward did eliminate some of the rumors about why she suddenly left the team.

“As a female and you say health issues, people automatically think you’re pregnant. Well, I’m not pregnant, I don’t have cancer and never have I been pregnant because there are a lot of ignorant people out there that just assume that,” Holdsclaw said. “I’m not addicted to any type of drug. I really don’t like to take them. The trainers will tell you that.”

The Mystics are calling Holdsclaw’s absence a “minor medical issue.”

So why all the secrecy?

“Because it’s my business,” Holdsclaw said. “I don’t owe it to Washington Sports & Entertainment [the Mystics’ parent company to explain]. I give what I can as a basketball player, and it’s something that is personally affecting me.

“The only people I feel for are those who are going to be there for me. That’s my parents, Coach [Pat] Summitt and my agent [Lon Babby], and those are the people, God forbid that I am dying, that are going to be there for me. And that’s the way I’ve always handled things, and that’s the way I will. I don’t want no sympathy party for anything that is going on in my life. I stick to those who stick to me.”

Holdsclaw, who is the WNBA’s second-leading scorer at 19.0 points, has missed three of the Mystics’ last four games. Unexpectedly, the Mystics have gone 2-1 without her.

Holdsclaw said she has not decided whether she will rejoin the team Aug.11 when it resumes practicing during the month-long Olympic break. The next game for the 12-14 Mystics is Sept.1, when they play the Indiana Fever at MCI Center.

“I look forward to it, but it all depends on how I feel,” Holdsclaw said. “Tomorrow is not a promise. I’m just focused on myself. I give to a lot of different people in a lot of different situations. I’m always concerned about others, and now it’s time to focus on myself in this situation.”

Aside from her basketball camp at West Potomac High School in Fairfax County, Holdsclaw, 26, has pretty much distanced herself from the game since she departed the team.

“I have not watched [the team]. Besides the game I tried to come back and play [a 73-65 loss to the Detroit Shock last Wednesday], I have not been to the MCI Center or anything,” Holdsclaw said. “I don’t have the time for [basketball] right now. I have to focus on what I have to do to get myself better, and that’s it.”

Because she won’t reveal the problem, Holdsclaw probably will continue to hear questions. That’s something she said she is prepared to deal with.

“I don’t want to discuss it — I have that right,” Holdsclaw said. “I’m a very private person, and I don’t feel that I have to discuss it with anyone. From this point on, people can say what they want to say. I love it. Talk about me some more. I love my name in the newspaper.”

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