Tamecka Dixon, One of WNBAs Original Players, Announces Retirement
A three-time WNBA All-Star and a two-time WNBA champion, Tamecka Dixon has announced her retirement from the WNBA after 13 seasons. Entering the 2009 campaign, Dixon joined Vickie Johnson, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson as the only remaining players from the league's inaugural season in 1997. She follows Johnson and Leslie who announced their retirements last fall.
A 5-9 guard who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Kansas, the 34-year old Dixon closes her WNBA career among all-time leaders in games played (360, 6th), points (3,500, 22nd), assists (961, 11th) and minutes (9,454, 12th). She boasts career averages of 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.9 steals per game.
She announced her retirement while playing overseas for GMA Napoli where she leads the Italian League in points (18.3) and steals (5.2) per game.
"I always wanted to go out on my own terms," said Dixon. "After the Houston franchise disbanded (in 2008), I was at a crossroads because I thought I would finish my career there. I was contemplating retirement then, but I still felt I had a little left to give the game and wanted to go out on my own terms. I had a very short list of teams that I considered playing for last year and Indiana was my first option. I always thought it was a class organization and a place where I would love to finish my career."
Dixon signed a free agent contract with the Fever last May, prior to the start of the Fever's finest season. She played in 32 games for Indiana, shooting 41 percent from the floor and helping the development of rookie point guard Briann January. With Indiana, she reached the WNBA Finals for the fourth time while helping the Fever reach the league's championship series for the first time.
"I fell a little short of my goal to help Indiana obtain the championship," she added, "so I definitely thought about coming back for 2010. It was hard to come so close and fall short, but I do think now is the right time for me. I have no regrets in making this decision now."
Though no longer a starter in 2009, Dixon remained one of the league's most experienced veterans. She averaged 4.1 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game during her final regular season, and averaged 2.1 points and 6.2 minutes while appearing in each of the Fever's 10 playoff games.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tamecka," said Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. "She came in here and did her job to help us win the East and get to the WNBA Finals. She has been a great representative of this league for 13 years. I wish her much success in the future."
Echoing those sentiments, WNBA President Donna Orender said, "As someone who has been with the WNBA since the very first season, Tamecka has greatly contributed to the continued growth of not only the WNBA but women's basketball overall. We thank her and wish her the best."
Added Fever coach Lin Dunn, "Tamecka is one of the original players in the WNBA and has had an outstanding career! We were fortunate to have Tamecka on our team in 2009, she was a certainly a key component of our Eastern Conference championship team. We wish her all the best."
Dixon's arrival in Indiana followed three years with the Houston Comets and nine with the Los Angeles Sparks. It was in L.A. where she achieved her greatest stardom, starting beside Leslie for most of nine seasons and leading the Sparks to three WNBA Finals appearances. Dixon and Leslie captured league titles in 2001 and 2002, and started beside each other on Western Conference All-Star Teams in consecutive years from 2001 to 2003.
She started 21 games as a rookie in 1997 while scoring 11.9 points per game and pacing the Sparks with 49 steals. Her 16.2-point average in 1998 was the best of her career and the second of seven years in which she averaged double-figure scoring. She ends her career as the third-leading scorer in Sparks history (2,774 points) behind Leslie and Mwadi Mabika.
A Kodak All-American and Big XII Conference Player of the Year in 1997, she guided Kansas to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances before she was chosen 14th overall by the Sparks in the 1997 WNBA Draft.
Dixon concluded, "What I would like people to remember about Tamecka Dixon isn't written in the record books. I would like to be remembered as a teammate who played hard 100 percent of the time. If the teammates with whom I have been fortunate to play can think of me as someone who was always ready to go to battle for them, then my legacy is perfect in my eyes."