Candace Parker pays fond tribute to Pat Summitt after winning WNBA title
Candace Parker won her first career professional title Thursday night as her Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals.
The 30-year-old Parker, drafted first overall by the Sparks in 2008, had accomplished just about everything else in her storied career, and when she added a championship to the list, she wasted no time paying tribute to a late mentor.
In a postgame interview with ESPN's Holly Rowe, Parker — overcome with emotion — said only, “This is for Pat. … This is for Pat,” before walking off and embracing a member of the staff.
“Pat” would be Pat Summitt, the legendary Tennessee coach who died this past June. She was also Parker's coach in Knoxville from 2005-2008, and the duo won two championships together.
It was a fitting cap to a great night for Parker, who scored 28 points in the clincher, won Finals MVP honors and shared a moment with Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, now a member of the Sparks' ownership group:
The decisive Game 5 had a thrilling finish, with the Sparks blowing an eight-point lead in the final minutes, then benefiting from a controversial basket before ultimately scoring the winner with 3.1 seconds remaining in a 77-76 victory.
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 21, 2016