Cappie Pondexter, Retired From the W.N.B.A., Has ‘Never Been So Alive’

Pondexter found another level in those playoffs, scoring 28.4 points a game, but it was Angel McCoughtry’s Dream that moved on to the league finals. After that, the frequent foil of Liberty basketball — instability — struck again. Donovan left, replaced for two years by John Whisenant, then by Bill Laimbeer.

After the 2014 season, Pondexter was ready for another change, and the Los Angeles Sparks beckoned. Then Pokey Chatman, the coach and general manager of the Chicago Sky, offered Pondexter the chance to play in the city where she grew up.

Two more playoff appearances followed, before the Sky’s franchise star, Elena Delle Donne decided, as Pondexter had years before, that she would request a trade.

“Playing with Delle Donne, a young talent, reminded me of Taurasi; I said O.K., we can do this,” Pondexter said, and smiled. “And then I get there, and Delle Donne doesn’t want to be in Chicago.”

In 2018, after a brief stint in Los Angeles, Pondexter ended up with the Fever, who wanted a mentor for a young, rebuilding roster. Pondexter took pleasure in instructing those “babies,” as she called them, getting in their ears the day she arrived in Indiana, on the bench in street clothes just after signing.

Now those days are over, a strange shift, Pondexter said, for someone whose life has been basketball. But in retirement, if nothing else, the universe has taught her this: Life goes on.