Vickie Johnson Announces her Retirement at the End of 2009 Season

SAN ANTONIO – Vickie Johnson has played more WNBA games than any other player in the history of the league. She played the first game in league history on June 21, 1997, helping the New York Liberty to a 67-57 win over the Los Angeles Sparks. Now, after 13 seasons, more than 4,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,000 assists, she will play her final WNBA game.

“This is my final season in the WNBA,” said Johnson. “I really enjoyed my 13 years in the league and I can truly say every time I stepped on the court, I gave 110 percent, and I hope and pray the fans saw my hard work and dedication to the game every night.”

A two-time all-star, Johnson is one of only three players who have suited up for every season of the league’s existence (Tina Thompson and Tamecka Dixon are the other two). She has played more games (379) and more minutes (11,719) than any other player in league history. She ranks among the top 10 all-time in field goals, both made (seventh – 1,545) and attempted (sixth – 3,586), as well as sixth all-time in assists (1,130) and eighth in points (4,039).

“I’d like to thank the WNBA and my agent, Bruce Levy & Associates, for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream,” said Johnson. “I’d also like to thank the New York Liberty for drafting me in 1997 and believing in me even though I was young and inexperienced. I hope that I was everything they needed and wanted in a player. To the New York fans, for my first nine years in the league, you were the best fans a player could wish and pray for. I’d also like to thank the San Antonio organization and Dan (Hughes) for these last four years of my career. It’s been a great experience. I hope and pray I gave them everything they were looking for in a player. Thank you to San Antonio fans for coming out and supporting us even my first year when we weren’t that great, but we were working on building something and four years later I think we have the best fans in the WNBA. Know that I truly appreciate both organizations.”

Johnson spent the first nine seasons of her WNBA career with the New York Liberty before signing with San Antonio as a free agent in February 2006, becoming the first building block of Dan Hughes’ 2008 Western Conference Champion squad.

“Last, but not least, I want to thank the players I had the pleasure of playing with and competing against,” said Johnson. “I have built friendships for the rest of my life. I was able to play with the best players in the world and I’ll have stories to tell for the rest of my life to my children, grandchildren and anybody else interested in the game of basketball.”

The winner of the WNBA’s 2008 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, Johnson has averaged 10.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game throughout her WNBA career. She also has played professionally in Israel, France, Hungary and Turkey. A Louisiana native, Johnson played collegiately at Louisiana Tech where she was a two-time All-American and a member of the 1994 NCAA All-Final Four team.

“Vickie is one of our true pioneers, who has played for the love of the game throughout her career,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “She plays the game today, 13 years after helping launch the WNBA, just as she did in 1997 – with remarkable consistency and energy, with a style that makes those around her better and as a great example of a leader, a team player and a role model."

The Silver Stars plan to honor the WNBA veteran with “Vickie Johnson Night” on Sept. 1 when the team hosts the Minnesota Lynx.

“Vickie Johnson is the consummate pro and an incredible gift to the WNBA and its legacy,” said Hughes. “She has developed a reputation that compares with the greatest this league has seen. She has set standards for performance on the court, leadership and displaying daily what a true professional is. I believe the players who have played with her, coaches who have coached her and fans who have watched her are all in agreement that Vickie Johnson is one of a kind.”

The defending Western Conference Champion Silver Stars host the New York Liberty Saturday, June 13 with $1 draft beer, sodas and hot dogs. The team will unveil the 2008 Western Conference Champions banner before the game with the first 5,000 fans in attendance receiving a commemorative poster. For more information on Silver Stars single-game tickets, planned theme nights or one of the affordable full and partial season ticket plans, visit www.sasilverstars.com or call (210) 444.5090