Cambage called Nigerians monkeys: report

Former Opals star Liz Cambage. Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Australian basketball star Liz Cambage allegedly called Nigerian players "monkeys" in the pre-Olympics practice match that sparked her messy exit from the national team program.

Anonymous Nigerian players alleged Cambage had called them "monkeys" in a heated verbal and physical stoush in last July's warm-up game that was ultimately abandoned.

The tension was sparked when Cambage elbowed Nigeria centre Victoria Macaulay so hard she left a gash in her neck.

It prompted a physical retaliation, which saw Cambage unleash verbally.

"That's what I recall, the term monkeys, yes. And go back to where you came from," one Nigerian player told News Corp.

"She definitely did use monkeys or monkey."

Another Nigerian player said: "She did say, 'control your monkey' or something like that."

Cambage was independently investigated and issued a formal reprimand - but not suspended or fined - after the practice game altercation derailed the Opals' Tokyo Olympics campaign.

The report also alleged before the match, Cambage, whose father is Nigerian, had told one of Nigeria's players she wished she was playing for them because her Australian teammates were racists.

Cambage apologised to the Nigerian players for her actions, the next night, receiving a mixed response.

The report comes three weeks after retired Opals great Jenna O'Hea confirmed to the ABC claims Cambage had told Nigerian players to "go back to your third world country".

In the days after the Nigeria clash, Cambage withdrew from the Games citing mental health concerns.

Despite remaining available for selection for this year's World Cup in Sydney, Cambage said she would never again play for the Opals.

Cambage, who now plays for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA, told the ABC: "I'm living my best life. I'm supported, I'm protected on a level that the Opals or the Australian team never gave to me.

"My heart lies with those who want to protect me and those who want me to be the best I can be, and I never felt that at the Opals at all. So yeah, I'm good."