Thursday, July 21, 2011
Marion Jones cut by Tulsa Shock
TULSA, Okla. -- Former Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Marion Jones has been cut by the Tulsa Shock, bringing her future in basketball into question.
The Shock announced Thursday they had waived Jones to make room for former Oklahoma center Abi Olajuwon.
In her second season, Jones was averaging less than a point per game in 14 appearances for Tulsa, which is a league-worst 1-14 heading into the All-Star break.
"I want to thank the Tulsa Shock, Coach (Nolan) Richardson, the WNBA and my tremendous teammates for providing me the opportunity to fulfill a dream and a platform to demonstrate to people, especially our youth, that if you have faith, life is full of second chances," Jones said in a statement released by the team
"I love the game and welcome another opportunity to contribute to women's professional basketball," she said.
Jones was not available to comment further Thursday.
Once among the world's best-known female athletes and the fastest woman in the world, Jones won three gold medals and two bronzes at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but ended up giving the medals back and serving about six months in prison after admitting she had lied to federal investigators about taking steroids.
Jones was the point guard for North Carolina's national championship team in 1994 but was away from basketball between the end of her college career and the start of her foray into the WNBA last year. Beyond seeing whether she could make it as a pro basketball player, she said she was hoping others could learn from the mistakes she made lying to investigators probing performance-enhancing drug use and a check fraud scam.
She created the "Take a Break" campaign, encouraging people to pause for a moment before making important decisions -- something she wished she had done during the investigation.
The Shock were intrigued enough by her first season, when she played in all 34 games and averaged 3.4 points and 9.4 minutes, that she was re-signed and made the team after training camp. But she had only four baskets in 14 games with fading playing time.
She became the second player waived since four-time Olympic basketball gold medalist Teresa Edwards took control of the team from Richardson. Edwards said bringing in Olajuwon -- the daughter of former NBA All-Star Hakeem Olajuwon -- was intended to bring size, defense and rebounding that the Shock are lacking.