Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery has opted out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on social justice reform.
Protests against racism and police brutality have been held globally after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
The WNBA season will start on 24 July and run until mid-October.
“This year is bigger than basketball. My heart was not in it this year because my heart is elsewhere,” Montgomery, 33, told BBC Sport.
“I was most concerned about leaving my team-mates out to dry almost, but everybody said ‘do your thing, I get it’.
“I told them all I’ll be cheering for them but I’m going to have to sit this one out.”
Floyd died after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
Montgomery said one of the issues she would target is claims of voter suppression in Atlanta, with the presidential election taking place in November.
She established a foundation in November which she hopes will help make a difference.
“I’m going to create some kind of positive change,” she said.
“To give up that comfort zone of basketball is scary. But I felt strongly enough that I knew whatever happens, this is the right decision for me.”
Atlanta Dream coach Nicki Collen said she supported Montgomery’s decision, adding she was “incredibly proud of her outreach in the community”.