PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many athletes have been speaking out about social reform since George Floyd’s murder. Some of them are putting their careers on hold to fight for change.

It takes a lot to become a champion, but it takes even more to walk away on top.

Natasha Cloud, a Delco native, former St Joe’s star and WNBA champion, is doing just that in her prime. Following the Washington Mystics title last year, Cloud is stepping away this season for two reasons.

(Credit: CBS3)

“I feel that I’m being called for social reform,” Cloud said. “And using that platform that I have, the voice that I have, the momentum and leverage that I have at this very moment. And the second main reason is health and safety. This is a time where COVID is a deadly virus. It’s very unknown, very unknown what long-term effects it could potentially have on us.”

How much more difficult does it make it knowing that Cloud and the Mystics are coming off a title?

“In the last three-four weeks, I haven’t been able to think about basketball,” she said. “I have had no motivation to play basketball. People are like, ‘you know, you should just play.’ When I take that uniform off, I am a Black female. When I enter into the real world, I am a Black female, I don’t get to take my color off.”

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After a season which saw her named a second-team All-Defensive player, Cloud is pressing pause on her career at a pivotal moment.

But she says, while it was difficult, it was the right move because she is seeing change.

We have seen massive protests across the country and really across the globe in the wake of the death of Floyd and now in support of Black Lives Matter.

Does she think we are headed in the right direction?

“I’m hopeful. I’m extremely, extremely hopeful,” Cloud said. “I’ve been at different protests, whether it’s in Philly, whether it’s been in DC, and it’s such a beautiful and powerful thing to see people from all walks of life, different races, different backgrounds, different religions coming together for a greater cause.”

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