Former Opals captain Jenna O’Hea says Australian basketball star Liz Cambage told the Nigerian women’s basketball team to go back to your Third World country in a warm-up game before her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics.
Cambage’s conduct against Nigeria was, but what exactly occurred during the altercation had not been publicly disclosed. The independent panel that reprimanded Cambage also cleared her of three other charges relating to the incident.
On Sunday, O’Hea told the ABC’s Offsiders program it was 100 per cent correct that Cambage had directed the comment – which sparked a brawl – towards the Nigerian team, and O’Hea had not spoken to her since the incident.
Cambage, by her own admission, came to blows after heated verbal sparring but has denied other rumours of what allegedly unfolded against the Nigerians.
The 30-year-old soon after the incident, citing ongoing mental health concerns which could’ve been exacerbated by the Tokyo COVID-19 bubble.
The four-time WNBA All-Star fell out with the Australian team and has said she had for the upcoming women’s World Cup this year.
Cambage’s comments towards the Nigerian team were made while the centre was playing alongside Australian rising star Ezi Magbegor, who is of Nigerian heritage. Cambage’s father is also Nigerian.
O’Hea – who retired from national and international basketball in March – said she did not think Cambage would play for the Opals again, and said Cambage’s view she was not supported was her reality.
I can hold my head up high and say that I always loved her, always cared for her, always supported her, always had her back, O’Hea said. I think that is her reality and I think listeners and watchers out there can believe who they want to believe.
Cambage currently plays for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA and is one of the most dominant players in the league, averaging 14. 2 points and 8. 2 rebounds while playing for Las Vegas last season.
Without Cambage, the Opals However, O’Hea said the team could still perform well at the FIBA women’s basketball World Cup to be held in Sydney this September.
I think that there is just so many wonderfully talented basketballers in Australia. We’ve got so many playing over in the WNBA at the moment, there’s plenty here in Australia as well, so with the right preparation, I think we can do really well on home soil at the World Cup this year, O’Hea said.
There are so many great role models who play basketball that young boys and girls can look up to. So, I really want the media to focus on those players who want to be Opals and who want to represent Australia and who are really dedicated to Australia.
Cambage has been contacted for comment.
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