CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW entered the WNBA with the highest of expectations. "Her eventual appeal could rival what Michael Jordan was able to do," WNBA president Val Ackerman said after Holdsclaw, a two-time NCAA player of the year at Tennessee, was drafted first overall by the Washington Mystics in 1999. Eight years later Holdsclaw had her most Jordan-esque moment—just as he did in 1993, she stunned teammates with a sudden and seemingly premature retirement.
Holdsclaw, 29, quit the WNBA last week, five games into her third season with the Los Angeles Sparks. The 6' 2" forward, who had been averaging a team-leading 15.8 points, gave the Los Angeles Times an explanation that explained little. "I've been doing this for so long, I just want to do something else," she said, adding that she plans to travel and spend time with family.
This isn't the first time Holdsclaw has walked away. She mysteriously left the Mystics in 2004, revealing only months later that she had been suffering from depression. Under care of a psychiatrist, she traced that episode to the '03 death of her grandmother, who had raised her in Queens, N.Y., and the death of her grandfather a few months later.
Holdsclaw, who in 2006 took a two-week leave from the Sparks after learning both her father and stepfather had cancer, said her retirement wasn't a sign of a relapse. "I'm not depressed," she said. "I just want to kind of kick back."
Holdsclaw made six WNBA All-Star teams, but she never became her sport's Jordan. In one sense, that's good. His Airness always maintained the smooth image of a larger-than-life superstar; Holdsclaw's candor about her depression was, from an elite athlete, a rare show of vulnerability that may have helped her, and others too.
The Spanish league title, Real Madrid, with a 3--1 win over Mallorca in what was likely David Beckham's final professional game in Europe. Beckham, 32, had failed to win a championship in his first three seasons with Madrid, and he was dropped from the lineup in January after he signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS beginning this summer. But he rejoined Madrid and helped the team win its final eight games of the season. On Sunday, with his friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes watching from the stands, Beckham (below) showed he can still compete at soccer's highest level, coming within inches of scoring on three different free kicks. He left the game in the 66th minute with an apparent sprained ankle, but that did little to dampen his enthusiasm afterward: "Winning this tonight now puts to bed everything else."
A steroid test immediately after his split decision victory over Danny Batchelder last month, heavyweight James Toney. A former IBF middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion, the 38-year-old Toney, who weighed in at 229 pounds, tested positive for boldenone and stanazolol. Batchelder failed his test as well, testing positive for stanazolol and oxandolone. Both face one-year bans from boxing. This is Toney's second drug offense: In 2005 he tested positive for steroids after a win over WBC heavyweight champ John Ruiz. That bout was ruled a no-contest and Toney (below) served a 90-day suspension.
For ethics violations during his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case, Durham County, N.C., district attorney Mike Nifong. Last summer Nifong obtained rape indictments against three Duke players; the charges were dropped in April, and last week the North Carolina State Bar put Nifong on trial for withholding DNA test results from the players' attorneys and making misleading and inflammatory comments to the press. Last Friday, a day before he was disbarred, a tearful Nifong told a Raleigh courtroom that he was resigning: "It has become increasingly apparent ... that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice."
The U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis on Sunday, England's Lewis Hamilton, who the previous week became the first black driver to win a Formula One race (SI, June 18). The rookie, 22, now has seven top-three finishes in seven starts this season and is the circuit's points leader. "Coming into the season, being realistic, I never expected anything like this," Hamilton said. "I hoped maybe I'd get a podium at some point. This is just insane."
By Jamaican police, the investigation into the death of Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer, who is now thought to have died of natural causes. Woolmer, 58, was found dead in his Kingston hotel room after Pakistan's March 17 loss to Ireland in the cricket World Cup (PLAYERS, April 2). It was ruled that Woolmer was strangled, but last week a spokesman for the Jamaica Constabulary Force said police are "99 percent sure" Woolmer died of heart failure. Said Kingston pathologist Ere Seshaiah, who made the initial diagnosis, "I am sticking to my findings. He was murdered."