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Sparks star Alana Beard plans to retire

Alana Beard, the WNBA’s two-time defensive player of the year who finished her career with the Sparks, has played her last game, she said Wednesday on the Tim Fletcher radio show.

Joining Fletcher in her hometown of Shreveport, La., Beard talked about beginning a career in venture capitalism.

“You put me on the spot,” Beard replied to Fletcher when he asked about her retiring. “I’m still working on that.”

Beard went on to discuss her work in educating children on how to swim after starting a program in the aftermath of six Shreveport teenagers drowning in 2010, and looking forward to starting a career in the Silicon Valley to learn about venture capitalism. She has interned at Next Play Capital.

“As an athlete wanting to cross over into the business world, you crave the access and the knowledge,” Beard said last spring. “There’s so much to learn.”

Beard was the No. 2 overall pick out of Duke in the 2004 WNBA draft and was a nine-time WNBA all-defensive player during her 16-year career.

She spent her final eight seasons on the Sparks, with whom she won a title in 2016 and was the league’s defensive player of the year in 2017 and 2018. She finishes with career averages of 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals.

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