Washington Mystics guard and 2019 WNBA champion, Natasha Cloud, has decided to sit out for the 2020 basketball season in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement.
Cloud announced her decision on Monday (June 22) that she wants to realign her focus to social justice issues.
"I am more than an athlete," Cloud captioned in her Instagram post. "I have a responsibility to myself, to my community and to my future children to fight for something that is much bigger than myself and the game of basketball. I will instead continue the fight for social reform, because until Black lives matter, all lives can't matter."
Putting a pause on her five-year WNBA career with Mystics, Cloud reportedly had a career-best of 9.0 points and 5.6 assists last season, according to ESPN.
WNBA’s Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream also opted out of the 2020 season on June 18 to focus on social justice reform following the horrific death of George Floyd.
"After much thought, I’ve decided to opt-out of the 2020 WNBA season. There’s work to be done off the court in so many areas in our community,” she tweeted. “Social justice reform isn’t going to happen overnight but I do feel that now is the time and Moments equal Momentum. Let's keep it going!"
Both athletes join four-time WNBA champion for the Minnesota Lynx, Maya Moore, who has sat out for the last two seasons to fight for criminal justice reform.
As for NBA players, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has joined other star Black athletes and entertainers to start a voting group aimed to protect African-American voting rights. "More Than a Vote" will reportedly help influence Black communities to register to vote and cast their ballots in November.
"Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial. We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, [on] the other side, to stop you from voting," James told The New York Times.
Helping to move the effort and spread the word, Atlanta Hawks Trae Young, Golden State Warriors Draymond Green and WNBA star for the Phoenix Mercury Skylar Diggins-Smith, have teamed up to help amplify the “More Than a Vote” campaign.
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)