On Sunday, with the Chicago Sky trailing by nine points in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, did anybody really think Candace Parker would fall short in her quest to bring her hometown its first-ever WNBA championship against the Phoenix Mercury?
Those are the exact moments where legends are born and legacies are cemented, forged in fire and immortalized for eternity. And true to form, the Sky rose to the challenge. Propelled by Allie Quigley’s vicious fourth-quarter assault, Chicago outscored Phoenix 26-11 in the final quarter and prevailed 80-74 to give the city of Chicago and its pride and joy, Candace Parker, the perfect fairytale ending fit for a Disney movie.
Parker, who finished the game with 16 points and 13 boards, previously expressed to The Root how important it was to return to her hometown after 13 seasons in Los Angeles and help lead Chicago to the promised land. And after finally doing so, she kept that same energy while speaking to reporters.
“This one is so sweet,” Parker said. “To do it with this group. I love this group, I love this team. And to do it here at home, it was just supposed to be.”
She added, “It was amazing to just hug my dad and my mom. It was just an amazing feeling to be from here and see so many people in the stands that have been supporting you since you started. It’s just a moment where you just have to really take it in.”
Sky coach James Wade pointed to the team’s perseverance as one of its defining championship traits.
“We stayed together,” he said, in reference to the Mercury leading by as many as 14 points in the third quarter. “It was a microcosm of our season, where you go down and you keep pushing. By the end of it, the crowd took over, our players stayed together and you started to see who we were. I never doubted for a minute that we were going to win that game.”
But for Parker, the opportunity to have a full-circle moment after already firmly establishing herself as one of the best ever in her sport is the icing on the cake.
“It feels amazing. My high school coach is here,” Parker said. “I know Pat’s (Summitt) watching. Got the whole city here. We got the whole city here. We are champions for life now.”
Congrats to Candace and the rest of the Chicago Sky. This championship parade is about to be next level.