The Chicago Sky managed to capture the first championship in franchise history.
All 11 players on the Sky roster put on a show in Game 4 and proceeded to close out the Phoenix Mercury with a final score of 80-74.
It seemed as though going into every game, everyone constantly deemed Chicago the underdogs, especially after finishing the regular season with a measly .500 record. But, they never shied from the competition, ousting the Dallas Wings, Minnesota Lynx, Connecticut Sun, now the Phoenix Sun.
For Candace Parker, it’s the second title of her career but it’s the first chip for her hometown team, and arguably the most memorable. Parker has continuously shaken up the league since opting to sign with Chicago last spring.
Parker grew up in a suburb right outside of Chicago. “I believe things come full circle and I find myself playing professionally in the very place where I first picked up a basketball.”
Due to an inconsistent season, Parker battled ankle injuries nonstop. Fortunately for her though, she had teammates to help out along the way.
This postseason the Sky have been irksome on the defensive end. And guard Diamond DeShields had been an essential part of their dominant defensive effort.
“The world is a little bit unfair to us in the way we’re represented and the way we’re looked at and the chances that we don’t get.” –Coach James Wade
In Game 3 DeShields amassed five steals and after the game, she explained her mindset, “Defense is something you’ve got to want to do… I knew coming into tonight that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to guard everything. I wanted to guard everybody.”
On the offensive end, the Sky have been heavily supported by talent from all positions.
With the title, came the remarkable uprising of 27-year-old Kaleah Copper. Copper had excelled during the playoffs, averaging 18.6 on 53.5% shooting and draining 82.9% of her shots from the line. These phenomenal numbers earned Copper Finals MVP.
Chicago head coach James Wade, noticed the star’s play and in Game 3 stated, “You have players that work, but you have players like Kah that really, really work, and you see it the right way.”
The Sky’s first title also put Wade into an elite category, making him the third Black coach to win a WNBA title (Corey Gaines with Phoenix in 2009, and Michael Cooper with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002).
He said it has always been his dream to lead a team like the Sky to a title noting, “The world is a little bit unfair to us in the way we’re represented and the way we’re looked at and the chances that we don’t get,” Wade said. “You always have to protect yourself at all times. You get proud of these moments, but sometimes I have to act like that I’m supposed to be here, even though life has told me that I’m not.”
“It means a lot. It means a lot that my son is here and he gets to see his daddy coaching in front of a lot of fans just cheering.”
Despite dealing with a season filled with inconsistencies, the Sky have brought a title home to Chicago and Candace Parker has fulfilled her promise to her hometown.
With a barrage of young talent and savvy veterans, the Chicago Sky are destined to bring home another title for the city of Chicago. But, for now, let’s celebrate!
Let’s go Sky!
By Jeremiah Griffith, Junior, Noble Academy