January 2, 2022
Julie Allemand discusses her difficult 2021 in heartfelt statement
The Belgian National Team and Fever guard cites burnout and self-doubt as reasons for break
Allemand cited mental health struggles triggered by heartbreaking losses as the reasons for her necessary time off.
The Fever first drafted Allemand 33rd in 2016, and after spending a couple more years playing abroad; she first joined the Fever as a free agent in the 2020 bubble season.
Despite a dreary record for the Fever, Allemand was a shining light on the horizon. Allemand was named to the 2021 All-Rookie team, shot 47.8%, started in all 22 games and became the first rookie in WNBA history to average 8.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds.
Allemand is the first player in league history to be named to the All-Rookie team; after being drafted in the third round.
This year, she committed to playing for Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration in France. Afterward, she competed with the Belgian National Team in the 2021 EuroBasket Championship and Tokyo Olympics. The Fever and Allemand decided pre-season that her contract would be suspended and she would take the time after the Olympics off. In October, she began a contract with Lyon ASVEL Féminin.
Allemand outlined this busy year in her statement. After a positive time playing in Montpellier, the Olympics was a turning point.
“With four months of hindsight, I still have this same feeling of incompleteness, of failure every time I think back to that 7th place that we landed,” Allemand wrote about the Olympics. Note that the statement was originally written in French and translated to English.
The moment of paralyzing heartbreak was after Belgium’s 1 point loss to the eventual silver medalists Japan in the quarterfinals after losing by 1 point to Serbia a month earlier in the EuropeanBasket semi-finals.
Allemand discussed the extremely taxing nature of the Olympics bubble, eating behind plexiglass with gloves and not having support around, especially after experiencing a similar bubble in France and during the 2020 WNBA season.
After a narrow Olympics defeat, playing basketball anywhere became difficult for Allemand. She explained that her first loss with Lyon sparked flashbacks to the loss against Japan. And thoughts of self-doubt and selflessness emerged.
“You feel like you’ve reached a point you’ve never experienced before, and believe me, it’s scary. You cry for nothing, you don’t want to go train anymore, play a game, you would like to quit.”
In the final words of her statement, Allemand explained that she is feeling extreme burnout and needs some time away.
“I know that I am still not healed. I know it will take days, months before everything is better,” she wrote.
She also explained that she wanted to come forward with her story because mental health is a taboo subject which she feels a responsibility to be open about.
Allemand is signed through 2023.* It’s unclear when Allemand will return to basketball; however, a May return to Indiana would be a needed addition after their .188 2021 winning percentage, the second-lowest in franchise history.
*A previous version of this story said Allemand is a free agent.