Aussie basketball star Cambage reverses Olympic boycott threat, thanks ‘white’ critics for ‘making me money’

Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has walked back her threat to boycott the Tokyo Olympics over a diversity row, but defiantly labeled herself a “psycho b*tch” as she thanked her critics for “making me money.”

Last week two-time Olympian Cambage, 29, threatened to skip this year’s Summer Games in Japan after claiming promotional photos released by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and clothing company Jockey had failed to include a sufficiently diverse range of athletes.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. How am I meant to represent a country that doesn’t represent me. #whitewashedaustralia,” Cambage seethed as she shared the images on Instagram.

Cambage had shared the images along with her message of condemnation on Instagram. © Instagram @ecambage

The basketball star – who plays for the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA – baffled some fans by adding the message “fake tan doesn’t equal diversity,” which some took as a reference to indigenous Australian rugby star Maurice Longbottom in one of the images.

Cambage later apologized to Longbottom and denied she had been referring to him, but remained defiant in the face of criticism from some quarters in her homeland.

That included sending a message on Instagram to her detractors, writing: “I do not care for a white man’s opinion on racial issues. Never have. Never will.”

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Women's basketball star Liz Cambage has returned fire on her critics. © Instagram @ecambage / Getty Images via AFP
‘I don’t care for a white man’s opinion on racial issues’: Aussie basketball star Cambage pokes tongue at critics in Olympic row

Cambage, who was born in London to an Australian mother and Nigerian father, has now clarified that she will be taking part in the Tokyo Games for the Australian Opals after all – but still had some shots for her “haters.”  

“For everyone wondering so desperately what my decision is for the Opals, I’m in, baby... I’m in,” Cambage shouted in a post on Instagram Stories.

“I’m going to play with my sisters that I’ve been playing with since I was a wee little thing and I’m going to ball out for all those young brown kids back in Australia watching me, baby. I’m going to do it for you.”

Launching into an X-rated tirade at her critics, Cambage continued: “I got a couple of things I need to say.

“There’s two people in this world. There’s the people who have the balls to stand up and say something and make change. That’s me. I was born for this. I’m such a narcissist. I’m such a psycho b*tch.

“All the hate that you give me, I love it, it turns me on, it makes me go harder. It makes me push for more.

Cambage had a message for her critics on social media. © Instagram @ecambage

“The second type of people in this world, that’s the people who are intimidated and scared and insecure, and who hide behind fake profiles and talk sh*t because you’re too scared to do anything, too scared to take a stand.  

“I’m out here talking my sh*t with my big a** mouth, being a big old b*tch and making changes, baby.

“Thank you for all the messages of love and hate. Because the hate turns me on, and the love lifts me up.”  

In a follow-up post, the basketball star thanked her “white” haters for “making me money.”

“For the white people commenting on my photos, calling me racist because I’ve said we need diversity, I hope you know that all those comments on my photos are making me money,” said the 6ft 8in star.  

“It makes my analytics and data go up and up, and I get paid for ads. You’re putting a lot of traffic on my page and making me money, so thank you, I love it.”

In the wake of Cambage’s initial outburst the AOC stated that their photoshoot “should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games.”

The organization also announced changes to its constitution which mean at least one Aboriginal and one Torres Straight Islander athlete must be on its Commission.

In reply to a comment on Instagram, Cambage suggested that move was behind the reversal in her boycott threat.

“I got the WHOLE WORLD talking off a few IG stories,” she wrote.

“Then came to a decision with the head coach, and seeing as the AOC really did make changes to the constitution I thought I might as well go give the Olympics another crack.”

Among Cambage’s critics was Aussie tennis doubles legend Todd Woodbridge, who defended her right to stand up for what she believes in but said she had gone about it the wrong way.

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Tennis icon Todd Woodbridge commented on the row involving basketball star Liz Cambage. © USA Today Sports / Reuters / Instagram @ecambage
Aussie tennis icon accuses basketball star Cambage of ‘disrespect’ in Olympic ‘whitewashing’ photo row

“My initial thought was, don’t do it that way,” the 50-year-old tennis icon said. “Why do it that way? Why do it with the anger and the threats?

“You cannot threaten to pull out of representing your country, you’ve got the privilege to be there and to do something special.”

A three-time WNBA All-Star, Cambage holds the record for the highest single-game points tally in the league, scoring 53 for the Dallas Wings against the New York Liberty in 2018.

Representing Australia, she helped the Opals to the bronze medal at the London Games in 2012 and also played for the team in Rio in 2016.   

Cambage is one of the most recognizable faces in the women’s game and has a sideline as a DJ and lingerie model. She has done photoshoots for Playboy and ESPN's 'Body' issue.   

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