It’s been 14 long years since the L.A. Sparks won a WNBA Championship. But fate smiled on them Oct. 20, in a stunning defeat over the Minnesota Lynx 77-76.
The dramatic nail biter of a game came to a dramatic finish when forward Nneka Ogwumike hit a fallaway shot with three seconds left on the clock. The play helped seal her title of “2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player.”
Target Center exploded and champagne began to flow from everywhere.
Power Forward and Center, Candace Parker cried, smiled, laughed and laid on the floor to take it all in. She gave Magic Johnson a big hug for believing in her team that was once in jeopardy of leaving L.A. Johnson became a co-owner of the franchise in 2014.
On Monday, the players along with Sparks Coach Brian Angler, and Mayor Eric Garcetti celebrated the win with fans at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.
Ogwumike said “It feels surreal, but you know it’s not, and I think that’s what really surges the emotions. It’s something that you’ve never experienced before.”
“I don’t know about Coach Angler, but I wake up everyday like, ‘we’re champions.’ Everyday since we’ve won, I wake up with a smile on my face. I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet, but it feels amazing,” said Parker, who scored a game-high 28 points and 12 rebounds.
The Sparks won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002 against the Charlotte Sting and New York Liberty respectively, led by retired WNBA star and Inglewood native Lisa Leslie. This is the 20th year anniversary of the WNBA.
“It’s been a few years since we’ve had a championship and it’s been a little bit of a drought, but today it is raining in L.A.,” Mayor Garcetti said.
“It is our pleasure to bring this back to L.A. where it should be,” Parker said.