A pause for the center
Imani McGee-Stafford is stepping away from basketball for the next two years to attend Southwestern Law School’s accelerated J.D. program, the Dallas Wings announced Monday.
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“I am very thankful to Wings Nation for embracing me,” McGee-Stafford said. “I was accepted to Southwestern Law’s accelerated J.D. program and thus will be taking a two-year hiatus from basketball. While I am saddened to step away from such a big part of my life, I’m also excited for this next chapter. I am thankful to Coach Agler and Greg Bibb for being so understanding and supportive.”
McGee-Stafford, the tenth overall pick in the 2016 draft, has posted career averages of 4.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game, but this understates her effectiveness on a per-minute basis. McGee-Stafford has played for the Chicago Sky, the Atlanta Dream and the Wings.
She’d agreed to a contract for 2020 back in February, but had applied for the Southwestern Law program alone, rather than pursuing a law school tenure with multiple schools.
However, the program accepted her, and the opportunity was too good to pass up.
The timing of it all means McGee-Stafford can figure out whether to return to basketball or move forward with her law career while still very young. She doesn’t turn 26 until October 11.
“We wish Imani well as she pursues a law degree,” said Bibb. “We thank her for her hard work and contribution to the Wings organization and support her decision to step away from the WNBA in order to achieve a long-time goal.”
For the Wings, an abundance of bigs will fill the loss of McGee-Stafford. Dallas has Astou Ndour, Kristine Anigwe, Isabelle Harrison and Megan Gustafson all returning, along with picks 2, 5, 7 and 9 in the upcoming 2020 draft, where centers like Ruthy Hebard and Beatrice Mompremier are in the mix.
McGee-Stafford’s done many things in her life to date — published a book of poetry, spent years as a tireless advocate for mental health. There’s no telling what’s ahead for her in a fascinating life.
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