Latasha Byears

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Latasha Byears
Personal information
Born (1973-08-12) August 12, 1973 (age 47)
Memphis, Tennessee
NationalityAmerican
Listed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Listed weight206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High schoolBolton (Arlington, Tennessee)
College
WNBA draft1997 / Undrafted
Playing career1997–2011
PositionPower forward
Career history
19972000Sacramento Monarchs
1998–99Sporting Athens
20012003Los Angeles Sparks
2001MiZo-Pécsi VSK
2003–05Ceyhan Belediyespor
2005Dynamo Energia Novosibirsk
2005–06TED Kayseri Koleji
2006Washington Mystics
2006–07CSKA Sofia
20072008Houston Comets
2008–09Duda Leszno
2009–10Beroe Stara Zagora
2010–11Dunav 8806
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Latasha Nashay Byears (born August 12, 1973) is a former American professional women's basketball player. She played in the WNBA for the Sacramento Monarchs, the Los Angeles Sparks, the Washington Mystics, and for the Houston Comets. Byears ranked eighth all-time in the WNBA in field goal percentage (.514) and was among the top 10 rebounders in the league's history as of 2003.

Nicknamed "Tot", Byears usually played the position of power forward. However, the openly lesbian Byers became associated with legal controversy outside of her basketball career.[2]

College years[edit]

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Byears grew up in Millington, Tennessee and went to high school in nearby Arlington, Tennessee. Afterwards, Byears played two years in Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, located in Miami, Oklahoma. She later transferred to DePaul University in Chicago, where she averaged 22.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game during the 1995–1996 season, a performance that earned her a first team All-American. In 23 January 2011 Byears inducted to DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame.[3]

WNBA career[edit]

Despite not being selected at the first WNBA Draft, the Sacramento Monarchs invited Byears to their training camp prior to their inaugural season in 1997. Byears then starred for the Monarchs for the next four seasons.

After the 2000 season ended, Byears was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks, where she was a crucial part of a championship win for the team.[2] She was arrested on March 1, 2001 for driving under the influence of marijuana.[4] Because of this, she had to miss the first match of the 2001 regular season due to a suspension.[5] On July 11, 2002, she fought Michelle Marciniak on the court in a game against the Seattle Storm. On July 12, 2002, the WNBA fined her $1,000 and banned her for 2 matches..[6] However, following a June 5, 2003 Sparks game, Byears and three men unconnected to the Sparks were investigated for an alleged rape of a WNBA player. Byears was cut by the Sparks a few days after the alleged incident. Four months later, in light of Kobe Bryant's rape allegations and how the Los Angeles Lakers, who owned the Sparks at the time, supported Bryant during the controversy. Byears sued the Lakers, accusing the team of double standard. Byears felt that it was unfair that she was never charged and was cut; Bryant's case was settled, yet he still continued to play and represent the team in media.[2] The criminal proceedings were closed in August 2005 due to insufficient evidence, and Byears' lawsuit against the Lakers was settled months later. Shortly after settling the lawsuit, Byears returned to the WNBA after a two-year absence, signing with the Mystics.[7]

In 2007, Byears signed a free agent contract with the Houston Comets. She was briefly waived in 2008, before being re-signed. The Comets organization folded at the end of the 2008 season. Byears, as an unrestricted free agent, was not eligible for selection by another team in the resulting dispersal draft, and was not signed by another team prior to or during the 2009 season.

Overseas career[edit]

In October 2001 Byears joined the EuroLeague final four participant and Hungarian National League champion MiZo-Pécsi VSK.[8] She played only two matches, in 15 November 2001 travel back the United States.[9]

In November 2006 Byears joined the Bulgarian team of CSKA Sofia.[10] They won the Bulgarian Championships and Bulgarian Cup.

Byears played for Leszno in Poland during the 2008–09 WNBA off-season.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Top Female College Cagers". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1 April 1996. p. 50. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "BATTLE OF THE SAME SEX. Byears lawsuit outs WNBA conflict on gay issue". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  3. ^ "Byears was the Total Entertainment Package". depaulbluedemons.com. 16 January 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Sparks' Byears arrested". ESPN. 9 March 2000. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  5. ^ Barr, John; Lubbers, Dave (8 July 2006). "After battling back, Byears finds home again in WNBA". ESPN. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Byears, Marciniak suspended and fined". ESPN. 12 July 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  7. ^ Quinn, T. J.; Red, Christian; O'Keeffe, Michael (30 October 2005). "Byears lawsuit outs WNBA conflict on gay issue". Daily News. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Megérkezett Pécsre a WNBA-bajnok (The WNBA champion has arrived in Pécs)". Origo. 27 October 2001. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Bye, bye By ears!" (pdf). Új Dunántúli Napló (in Hungarian). Baranya County. 16 November 2001. p. 24. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  10. ^ Offseason 2007–08: Overseas Roster
  11. ^ Offseason 2008–09: Overseas Roster

External links[edit]