Tiana Mangakahia releases statement on future
The Sydney Flames are sad to announce the early retirement of star guard Tiana Mangakahia due to an ongoing battle with breast cancer.
The 28-year-old made the announcement via her social channels on Monday, saying the following:
“I never thought I’d be writing this until I was ready to have children with my future husband.
“However, here we go… basketball has been a part of my life for the past 23 years.
The experiences I have endured and the amount of joy this amazing sport has brought me are too overwhelming to explain.
“Without going into too much detail I have recently been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer which has spread into other areas of my body.
“Sadly, I have been informed by specialists it’s time for me to retire and think about life after being a professional athlete.
“Growing up, it was my dream to get paid to play basketball, and I am so grateful that I was able to achieve this.
“I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey – I’ve had so many great teammates and coaches who have taught me many fantastic life lessons.
“There have been ups and downs throughout my career and life.
“I know that regardless of this horrible disease, I will continue to be ME and surround myself with those who love and support me.
“While my basketball journey on the court has come to a close, this won’t be the last time you see me involved with the sport.
“Even though my journey is uncertain, what I am certain about is my passion for life and bringing greater awareness throughout the community about this nasty disease.
“I am looking forward to pursuing a career in coaching and giving back to the sport that has given so much to me.
“Cancer does scare me but not living life to its full potential scares me even more.”
Flames CEO Chris Pongrass said the club is devastated by the news and will continue to support Tiana.
“It is hard to express how important Tiana has been for this organisation,” Pongrass said.
“This news is truly devastating, and we share our thoughts, prayers and love with Tiana and her family.
“The Flames will continue to support Tiana throughout the next stage in her career; she will always be part of the Flames family and we are excited to help her continue to grow and develop in basketball”.
The club asks for everyone to respect the Mangakahia family’s space during this tough time.