Australian basketball star Elizabeth Cambage says she has been at breaking point as she called out "lies" that have surrounded her bombshell withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics in an Instagram video on Saturday morning.
The 29-year-old superstar announced Friday she was withdrawing from the Tokyo Games due to mental health concerns.
She explained her decision by revealing she has struggled to sleep and eat consistently over the past month, and has also been suffering panic attacks.
Her withdrawal also came just hours after it first emerged the Opals were discussing the option of kicking her off the team just days out from the Tokyo Games as a result of multiple alleged incidents.
The story took another dramatic turn on Saturday with Cambage taking to Instagram to hit back in an extended video post where she made a series of explosive claims.
Cambage said in the videos posted to her Instagram stories:
* She has been at "breaking point" for months
* She confirmed she was involved in a physical altercation during the Opals' friendly warm-up game against Nigeria this week
* She is "annoyed" by "fake news and lies" surrounding her withdrawal from the Olympics
* She has been losing her mind trapped inside a Las Vegas hotel room for a week, under the Opals' biosecurity protocols
* She never left the team's bubble — as reports claimed
* It is "sad" news got leaked that she didn't even know about; and
* She thanked fans for sending her messages of support
Her comments came after reports Basketball Australia is still investigating another incident involving Cambage - on top of the reports she left the team's training camp to go out in Las Vegas, where she plays with the Aces in the WNBA.
NCA Newswire first reported Cambage's behaviour had upset Australian teammates and officials, and her future with the team was uncertain.
Cambage's full explosive Instagram rant
"Here we go again," Cambage began.
"First of all I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent me a lot of love the past 16 hours. Thank you, I love y'all.
"This decision has been a few days in the making but I've been at breaking point for a month or so now.
"But as soon as I put out that little statement yesterday and made the final decision, I felt a world of anxiety and pressure and heaviness I have been carrying lift straight off me.
"I'm pretty annoyed at all the fake news and the lies I'm seeing floating around in news articles and being shown and being asked about.
"I just want to say this decision was coming and I'm happy I finally made it on my own terms. It's sad that news got leaked yesterday that I didn't even know about.
"Yeah, things got heated in the Nigeria game. There was a physical altercation and there were words exchanged but I'm hearing things that aren't true at all, flying around from people in Australia and America which is crazy.
"Everything that happened and everything that was said is on film. I know what happened and I do not appreciate the lies and people constantly trying to tear me down. Hating on me won't bring you love, at all.
"But hey, I've been trapped in this room, with no view, with nothing, for a week. Of course I'm going to lose my mind in here, are you serious?
"I'm seeing reports I went out partying. S***. I wish I did! I know some of the people in Vegas have been having a really good time this week. But I've been in here, bro. I've been in here. And the only time I left this goddamn bubble was for the All-Star game.
"I don't appreciate the lies. Don't you ever get sick of lying on my name. Don't you have anything else better to talk about?
"Yesterday was literally one of the hardest decisions of my life. But it had been coming. I've been having breakdowns in the carpark at Whole Foods. Non-stop panic attacks. Hyperventilating. At the thought of going into one of the most high-pressure situations, that is already in a bubble. With no fans, no friends. I've never played without fans.
"The main reason I sat out the WNBA last season was my mental health. I'm not OK in a bubble. I'm not OK playing in front of no fans. Mentally, I'm an escapist. If I have no escape from a situation, it gives me anxiety and I panic. And there's definitely no escape, except for leaving, once you get into Tokyo. And I would not want to do that."
Cambage's rollercoaster year of headlines
The outspoken star has been making headlines in recent months following a shock threat to abandon the Olympics as a result of a team photo furore.
The 29-year-old started a conversation around Australia when she took issue with the athletes chosen to represent Australia in promotional photo shoots ahead of the Games.
She told Australia to "wake the f**k up" in an explosive video which slammed the photo for a lack of diversity representing the Australian team.
Cambage had been expected to play for Australia in a Tokyo warm-up game against the USA on Saturday morning (AEST).
Cambage has previously indicated she could retire after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking last August after signing with the Southside Flyers in the WNBL, where she went on to win a championship, she admitted life after basketball was on her radar.
"I'm 29 and I've been a professional basketballer since I was 15, so there is more to life than chasing basketball courts," she said.
"So, I'm pretty excited to maybe wrap up my career and finish it on a high note here in Australia."
Following her successful Australian stint, Cambage returned to the Las Vegas Aces for the 2021 WNBA campaign.
She sat out the previous season with the Aces after receiving medical exemption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The veteran centre did not play in Thursday's WNBA All-Star clash after receiving a bump to her hip during Opals practice and did not play in Saturday morning's match with the United States.
The Opals only picked an 11-player squad for the Olympics, with no reserves, and are now down to 10 players for the Tokyo campaign.