September 14, 2023 

Lexie Brown shares details on season-ending illness

'Knowing that I’m at the tail end of it, the worst is behind me, helps me stay positive'

In late August, the Los Angeles Sparks announced that guard Lexie Brown would miss the remainder of the season due to a non-COVID illness, an illness that had kept her sidelined for 28 of the Sparks’ 40 games this season.

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Until this week, Brown had asked for privacy surrounding her illness, but following the Sparks season, has shared more about what ended her season. In her final interview of the WNBA season, Brown told reporters, “It’s really complicated”. “What I can share is that it was a bacterial infection.” She mentioned that around June 15, when she missed her first games, her infection had gotten serious, that she was nearly septic, and had to get emergency surgery.

Brown said, “My goal was always to come back. My mentality was to always conquer this and get back on the court, and that was always the conversations we had. But my mind and my body were not matching up.” She added that after she tried to return in July, her body wasn’t ready, and she ultimately had to get another surgery.

“The length of my absence has mostly been from the recovering of the surgeries,” Brown said. She will undergo a third surgery soon, which was part of the rationale behind shutting her down for the season officially in August.

Before her absence, Brown was averaging 12.4 points per game, the most by almost double in her six-season WNBA career. She was playing 30 minutes per game and shooting 40% from the floor. When reflecting on the season, Brown shared, “I never took my health for granted, but if there’s any moments that I did, I don’t think I’ll have those moments anymore.” Brown shared that for almost four to six weeks, she wasn’t leaving her apartment due to pain but greatly appreciated the support of family and friends.

Brown also expressed gratitude to the Sparks organization for helping her keep the nature of her illness private: “They kept it all extremely private, which I appreciate so much because it was hard; people have a lot of opinions and thoughts of what was really going on with me. And [The Sparks] said nothing. And I said nothing because, you know, the focus of this season was on the team, and I didn’t want to take anything away from that.”

Brown spoke to the morale and attitude of the team, noting that despite the plethora of injuries that plagued the Sparks this season, including her own, she loved watching players on her team get opportunities, players be brought in mid-season, and seeing the growth within the team as a result.

Brown plans to play with Athletes Unlimited in the offseason, where she has already been doing work as the Chairperson of the Player Executive Committee. She hopes to return to a full Lexie Brown level workout by the start of the New Year.

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“I was extremely happy with the way I was playing prior to coming out and my role on this team, and playing next to Jordin [Canada] as my point guard, and having someone like Nneka [Ogwumike] down low, I just felt really comfortable out there,” Brown said. “I’m just really excited for next season and for me personally, and for me the only goal I have right now is getting healthy and getting back on the court.”

Written by Cameron Ruby

Cameron Ruby has been a contributing writer for The Next since April 2023. She is a Bay Area native currently living in Los Angeles.

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