Debbie Black Announces Retirement
“It’s been an unbelievable ride, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than to do something I love for 17 years,” Black said. “But a great opportunity has come my way, and I can’t pass it up. Hopefully, I can have as much fun with my new career as I did during my days as a player. I feel really fortunate to have finished my career in Connecticut, where the fans were great to me, and appreciated what I brought to the floor every night.”
Lindsay Whalen on Debbie Black:
“Coming in as a rookie, she had been a point guard in this league, and it was great to have her to lean on for advice. It might be a little intimidating for a rookie, but she was great. We got to be good friends over the year. She’s definitely going to be missed. She did a lot of great things for the game of women’s basketball, and I know she’s going to continue to have success in whatever she does.”
Black will join her former college coach, Jim Foster, on the staff of the Ohio State women’s basketball team.
Nicknamed “The Pest,” for her relentless defense, the 38-year-old Black spent the final two years of an extensive professional career with the Connecticut Sun, where she became a fan favorite for her energetic play. Obtained with the sixth pick in the 2003 Dispersal Draft, the 5-foot-3 Black appeared in 65 of 68 regular season games for the Sun, averaging 11 minutes per game. Including the playoffs, she played in 77 games for Connecticut.
“One of the best things we did in bringing this franchise here was acquiring Debbie in the Dispersal Draft that year because she brought a new work ethic that was badly needed,” Sun coach Mike Thibault said. “Defense was no longer a curse word. Her intensity energized our fans as well as her teammates. Players like Debbie meant a lot to the development of the WNBA in general. Besides being a great player, she was a great ambassador to the league.”
A 1988 graduate of St. Joseph’s, Black played six seasons in the WNBA. She retires eighth all-time in steals (315) and tied for 10th in assists (612). Black is also first all-time in career steal-to-turnover ratio and fourth in career steals per game (2.26). She was the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year with the Miami Sol in 2001.
Black was also an All Star in the now-defunct American Basketball League, where she became one of the only professional players ever to record a quadruple double (10 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 steals), against the Atlanta Glory on Dec. 8, 1996. That feat has never been accomplished by a WNBA player, and has been done just four times in NBA history.
Prior to the ABL, Black played eight seasons with the Tasmanian Islanders (1989-96) of the Women’s National Basketball League in Australia. She helped the team win national titles in 1991 and 1995.