Open Letter: Cappie Pondexter Retires From WNBA

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Cappie Pondexter

Cappie,

I’ll never forget how proud I was to have every freshman in Blessing Hall at High Point University in fall 2007 meet me in the lounge to watch the WNBA Finals. My sister was playing.

I’ve only ever known you as my big sister.

Before you became a no. 2 overall draft pick, won WNBA titles and gold medals and became one of the top WNBA players of all-time, I remember you walking in my parent’s house for the first time as a teenager. I remember you dunking on our neighbor on an eight-foot rim in the backyard. Watching 106 & Park with you in your room. Going to LA Fitness to cook some poor souls who didn’t know who you really were.

Sharing a major part of my adolescence with you helped me in more ways than you know. And that’s before even getting to basketball.

As a player, you should know that I always tried to emulate you. Malcolm too! He wore no. 25 in high school just like you did at Rutgers. We talked trash like you. Ran like you. Yelled at our teammates like you.

We didn’t just watch your games religiously because you were our sister. We watched you because you brought the same fire for the game and for winning that we saw in Michael Jordan as kids.

As my own career continued so did my appreciation for your game and your approach. Textbook footwork on your pull-up jumpers. Attacking space and angles. Turning corners. An insatiable artform of scoring the basketball. A raging desire to compete.

I tried not to think much about when you would retire. It felt too sad, too surreal for me to accept. It’s not just my sister, it’s one of my favorite all-time players.

But let’s be real! This isn’t even a retirement. From the WNBA, sure. Definitely not from basketball. The person you are amazes me. Your basketball ability is only a piece of your impact on the world. Your gifts and your energy are still in the game, and the game is definitely nowhere close to done with you yet. But I’ve seen the beauty of how you handle business, deal with people, inspire creativity, and represent what it means to be and value your true self in this life.

These values have contributed to the person I am today, which in turn has contributed to the very creation of Basketball Society.

You are a true queen. Thank you for what you’ve done for me and for basketball. For being my sister and supporting me. For fighting for what you believe in.

The final thing I’ll share, and still have to this day, is the note you left me before you left for the WNBA Draft. I didn’t get to see you before you left for the airport. I’ll repeat the words back to you as you take on this next era of your life.

What’s up pimpin? I really miss our great times in the old house, hearing you bring up those times made me really realize the blessing I had of having you in my presence. Know that you are great, you have your own set of expectations that you have. Need no friendships that are negative, only positive. Make sure your expectations of yourself are the ultimate high.

I love you, pimpin.

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