Swin Cash had a long discussion with her inner circle before deciding to announce her retirement.
The 15-year WNBA veteran said that coming into the season “she was 99.9 percent sure” 2016 would be her final season in the league.
Her husband laughed, saying to let him know when she was at 100 percent.
Last week, the Liberty forward reached that level of certainty and announced her decision by writing a piece for the Players’ Tribune that was released Tuesday morning.
“I started thinking about it in early January when I was getting a lot of opportunities in broadcasting. My schedule was going to be pretty hectic,” Cash said in a phone interview with The Associated Press later Tuesday.
Cash, who is in Los Angeles with the Liberty for their game against the Sparks on Tuesday night, knew her story was going to be posted at 9 a.m. EDT. Even though it was early on the West Coast, she wanted to be up when her piece ran.
“I set my alarm and wanted to get up and make sure people I needed to talk to beforehand knew,” she said. “I didn’t talk to a lot of my family members and such.”
It’s been nonstop texts and social media posts all day in support. “It’s amazing, people you haven’t talked to in a couple of years reached out,” she said. “People you don’t speak to every day, that was surprising.”
Cash originally wasn’t even going to announce her retirement. A conversation with the Liberty’s director of player development, Teresa Weatherspoon, changed that. She convinced the two-time Olympian to announce it.
“If I would have had it my way, I didn’t want to cause any distractions and just done it at the end of season, do it that way,” Cash said. “T-Spoon reminded me of the lives of the people I’ve touched along the way and it was good to give those people the opportunity to say goodbye and appreciate the things you’ve given to the game.”
Cash felt a little guilty that it didn’t come out before the Liberty’s lone trip to Seattle on Sunday. She helped the Storm win a championship in 2010. Cash spent about 40 minutes after Sunday’s game chatting with fans and thanking them.
She was the second pick in the 2002 draft, going right behind Sue Bird, and won two other championships in the league with Detroit (2003 and 2006). She’s currently 14th in career scoring with just under 5,000 points. She also is 10th in rebounds. She’s played for five WNBA teams and also won two NCAA championships at UConn.
She re-signed with the Liberty on May 24 after being cut by the team right before the season began for salary-cap reasons. She’s averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in four games. She let the Liberty players know on Monday night of her impending retirement.
“They got an opportunity to know ahead of time, get the words from me,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be a distraction. For me this is it. Give everything I have to the finish.”
Cash wrote that she has 27 games left, starting with Tuesday night. She hopes that there might be a few more after that by getting the Liberty back into the playoffs.