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Marion Jones on “Fast Track” to WNBA

Marion Jones on “Fast Track” to WNBA

Former track star Marion Jones has announced her intentions of making a comeback to competitive sports.

For the past two months, Jones has been training with an assistant coach and the head trainer of the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars with hopes of signing with a WNBA team.   Marion Jones is no stranger to basketball.  She accepted a full scholarship to the University of North Carolina in basketball, where she helped the team win the 1994 NCAA championship in her freshman year.  Jones’ teammates included WNBA standout Charlotte Smith.  Her number 20 jersey had been honored by the school and hangs in Carmichael Auditorium.  Jones “red shirted” her 1996 basketball season to concentrate on track.  After Jones lost her spot on the 1996 Olympic team because of an injury, she decided to concentrate on track and field. In October 2007, Jones admitted that she took steroids before the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics and pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents in two separate investigations — a bank-fraud case in New York and the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative case in California involving performance-enhancing drugs. She was sentenced to six months in prison. She began her sentence on March 7, 2008 and was released on September 5, 2008.  Jones was disqualified by the IOC on Dec. 12, 2007 from her 2000 and 2004 Olympic events and stripped her of her five Olympic medals and 2004 fifth place in the long jump for using performance enhancing drugs.
Marion Jones playing for the Tar Heels

Since being released from federal prison about 15 months ago, Jones has been flying under the sports radar until she received a call “back in May from someone in the NBA asking her if she was interested in playing in the WNBA.”  Jones, told the NY times, that her first reaction was was “yeah right,”  but after talking with her husband, Obadele Thompson, she embraced the idea viewing it “as an opportunity to share my message to young people on a bigger platform.”  A message about making good choices.

WNBA teams can offer her a free-agent contract, but Jones cannot enter the upcoming WNBA draft because in 2003, she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in the third round.
The 34 year old Jones, the mother of three, plans to play in Europe this winter and then sign with a WNBA team for the 2010 season.

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