Candace Parker joined the Chicago Sky for the 2021 season after playing her entire WNBA career with the Los Angeles Sparks between 2008 and 2020. Parker is from the Chicago area and it was her goal to bring a championship to the city. She did just that Sunday.
The Sky were 16-16 in the regular season and seeded sixth in the WNBA playoffs, but they overcame all that to win the franchise’s first title. The Sky clinched the championship with an 80-74 home win over the Phoenix Mercury in Game 4 of the best-of-five WNBA Finals.
During the Sky’s postgame celebration, Parker signaled for her 12-year-old daughter, Lailaa Williams, to come join her. The two embraced in a long hug as Parker cried. This wasn’t Parker’s first WNBA title — the Sparks won in 2016 — but this win felt a little more special to her being back home.
“Look at the city, man,” Parker said to Lailaa, via ESPN. “They all showed up. They all showed up!”
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Parker gave birth to Lailaa after her rookie season and has been a working mother ever since.
Speaking with ESPN’s Holly Rowe following the win, Parker couldn’t hold in her emotions as she spoke of the support Chicago gave the team. Wintrust Arena (capacity 10,387) was sold out Sunday. Parker’s family showed up, along with her high school coach.
“Look at this. It’s amazing,” Parker said. “We got the whole city here. It’s just amazing how Chicago supports.”
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The other Chicago sports teams celebrated the Sky’s win on Twitter, congratulating the team on bringing Chicago its first championship since 2016 when the Cubs won the World Series.
The Sky set a WNBA postseason record with eight wins. They also became the first team in the WNBA’s 25-year history to win the Finals after being seeded outside the top two.