Redemption at last!
Candace Parker can finally call herself a WNBA Finals MVP, and champion.
After a spirited team effort fueled by last year’s devastating loss in the first round of the playoffs against Minnesota who went on to win the Finals, the highly decorated Parker entered the Finals with a chip on her shoulder after being snubbed off the Women’s U.S. Olympic team, and the loss of her late college coach (Tennessee) and basketball legend Pat Summitt, this past summer.
During a post-game interview, a visibly emotional Parker dedicated her 1st championship to the beloved late head coach.
Candace Parker. Chills. pic.twitter.com/38lxk5Hc8i
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 21, 2016
After an intense late 4th quarter performance led by star Minnesota guard, Maya Moore, closing the gap to try and secure the Lynx their 4th WNBA title in five years–it took the will of the reigning WNBA MVP, and Los Angeles forward, Nneka Ogwumike, to seal the win with a strong performance on the winning putback basket to give the Sparks a 77-76 lead with 3.1 seconds left in the game. Candace Parker earned MVP honors with a game high 28 points, and tied fellow forward, Ogwumike, with a game high of 12 rebounds.
After the game, Parker embraced team owner Magic Johnson, thanking him for believing in the team. Back in 2014, Magic Johnson teamed up with an investment group to purchase the Los Angeles Sparks after the team came close to relocating.
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 21, 2016
Candace: “Thank you so much for believing in us. Thank you so much for believing in us. Thank you.”
Magic: “And then you came out and did it.”
Candace: “Thank you so much.”
Magic: “You’re welcome. It was you. That fourth quarter, you did your thing.”
At only 30 years old, Parker is quickly punching her ticket to Hall of Fame honors.
Here is a list of her biggest accomplishments:
- Naismith College Player of the Year (2008)
- AP Female Athlete of the Year (2008)
- 1st Overall Pick In The WNBA Draft (2008)
- WNBA Rookie of the Year (2008)
- WNBA All-Rookie Team (2008)
- 4× All-WNBA First Team (2008, 2012–2014)
- 3× All-WNBA Second Team (2009, 2015, 2016)
- 2× WNBA All-Defensive Second Team (2009, 2012)
- 3× WNBA All-Star (2011, 2013, 2014)
- WNBA All-Star MVP (2013)
- 2× WNBA MVP (2008, 2013)
- WNBA Finals MVP (2016)
- WNBA Champion (2016)
The Los Angeles Sparks won their first title in 14 seasons, and their third in franchise history.