October 21, 2022 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: What do we learn from Erica McCall’s story about mid-tier WNBA players?

Jackie and Jenn discuss Erica McCall's injury after being cut by Washington and how she dealt with it

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Jackie Powell and The Next‘s Managing Editor and Washington Mystics beat reporter Jenn Hatfield discussing Erica McCall‘s injury that happened six-year ago when the Washington Mystics cut her during training camp due to an injury. She had to figure out what was next. Once she was cut, McCall was without the health insurance provided by the league.

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Jenn talks about what persuaded her to write a story about six-year pro Erica McCall:

“I am really excited to talk about this story some more I enjoyed learning about what she went through this summer and am excited to share it more widely. So Erica McCall most recently played for the Washington Mystics. I’m the beat reporter for the Mystics. So technically, I suppose she’s still on my beat. Or at least there’s not a clear conflict with another beat reporter. So I kind of just said mine.

And I first learned about what she was going through this summer, actually on her podcast Bird’s Eye View, which is a great listen if you aren’t familiar with it, she talks to WNBA players, agents, coaches just about their experience playing overseas and professionally as a whole. So I was listening to her podcast this summer. So that was kind of enough to pique my interest and the way that I was thinking about it is, what does the WNBA player do in a summer without the WNBA?”

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Jenn talks about what was surprising about Erica McCall’s WNBA offseason and dealing with the injury:

“I think there were a lot of things that surprised me. But if we stick with the Sydney Wiese part, I think an angle that I didn’t expect. So Sydney was the one who kind of jumped started Erica’s training plan this summer. Erica was at home in Bakersfield, California, floundering through no fault of her own just didn’t have a ton of resources or support there. And she ended up talking to Sydney, who is from the Phoenix area she tore her ACL, so she was rehabbing as well in the Phoenix area.

And there just happens to be a lot more support and a lot of different things that an injured athlete needs to recover, kind of all in the same place. And there were several professional players in the area, taking advantage of those things. And so there was kind of a makeshift community. And Sydney said, Erica, why don’t you come down, see if you like my physical therapist better than what you’re getting there? Like, just come stay with me for a week.

See if you like it, if you don’t, no problem, like go home. But I think you’re gonna like this. And so Erica came down for a week and ended up staying two months. And that was kind of how Sydney got involved. But what surprised me was when I first reached out to Erica, I knew nothing of Sydney’s involvement. And so that in itself was surprising.”

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