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WNBA star alleges her former team traded her because she got pregnant

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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A two-time WNBA All-Star alleges that her former team traded her because she had gotten pregnant with her second child.

On September 18, Dearica Hamby, 29, and the rest of the Las Vegas Aces won their first WNBA Championship. Hamby, a 6-foot-3 forward, had begun her career with the Aces eight years ago, when they were then the San Antonio Silver Stars, and was instrumental in bringing the championship to Las Vegas in 2022, despite a knee injury.

During the team's public celebration later that month, Hamby revealed that she was pregnant with her second child:


Hamby already had one child while a member of the Aces, giving birth to daughter Amaya in 2017.

On Saturday, the Aces announced that they had traded Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks. Though Hamby acknowledged that trades are "a part of the business," she claimed in a lengthy Instagram message that the Aces had attacked her "character and work ethic" and traded her because of her pregnancy.

Hamby alleged that the Aces first "bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against" her during contract negotiations. Back in June, Hamby signed a contract extension which would pay her $169,000 for the 2023 and 2024 seasons, though she alleged that the team did not follow through with all of its promises. "I was promised things to entice me to sign my contract extension that were not followed through on," she said.

Hamby also claimed that the team accused her of signing that contract while "knowingly pregnant." "This is false," she insisted.

Hamby claimed that this second pregnancy was unplanned. However, she also suggested that she would not have signed a contract that would try to prevent her from becoming pregnant. "Did the team expect me to promise not to get pregnant in exchange for the contract extension?" she asked rhetorically.

She also claimed that the Aces considered her "a question mark" and admonished her because she "was not taking precautions to not get pregnant." Though Hamby reportedly told the Aces on several occasions that she intended to play the 2023 season as usual and had been working out consistently on her own and with team staff to maintain her physical conditioning, despite her pregnancy, the team denied that she was taking her workouts "seriously" and that she could possibly be ready by the time the season tips off in mid-May, she said.

"[W]e need bodies," the Aces allegedly told Hamby.

Sports journalist Mirjam Swanson examined the details of Hamby's trade deal and suggested that pregnancy discrimination may have played a role. The Aces gave up Hamby, a two-time All-Star, and a 2024 first-round draft pick in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and Amanda Zahui B., a backup center who was suspended for the entire 2022 season. Swanson characterized the trade as "lopsided."

A recent collective bargaining agreement attempts to shield WNBA players from pregnancy discrimination. Pregnant players now receive their full salary, rather than the half they had received in the past, and teams are now able to replace a roster player who is out on maternity leave with a minimum-salary substitute without affecting the team's salary cap.

The Aces have not commented on Hamby's allegations, but the WNBA players' union released a statement, promising "a comprehensive investigation."

In her Instagram post, Hamby bid farewell to her teammates and fans in Las Vegas and promised those teammates and fans in L.A. that she is "moving forward" and "excited to start a new chapter."

On May 27, the Aces will host their first home game of the 2023 season — against the L.A. Sparks.

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