Thanks to the help of two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker returning home, the Chicago Sky overcame the odds and the sixth seed to win their first-ever WNBA Championship in its franchise history.
According to the Sky, Parker announced she was signing with the team back in February.
“An incredible story of a homecoming between a team striving to become a championship organization and one of the best players in basketball,” said Sky General Manager and Head Coach James Wade about the signing.
“Nine months later, the Naperville, Illinois, native will now be forever remembered as the key player who helped write the story of the 2021 Chicago Sky, a team that secured its first WNBA title in its franchise his- tory as the Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury in four games in the 2021 WNBA Finals,” the Sky organization stated.
Led by Coach Wade, the road for the Sky celebrating on its home court and in front of a sellout crowd at Wintrust Arena was one of the most impressive journeys in recent WNBA history.
Despite experiencing several injuries during the regular season, the Sky finished at .500 with a 16-16 record overall and entered the 2021 WNBA Playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
During the regular season, the Sky also received a career year from forward Kahleah Copper. Copper, a north Philly native, led the team in regular-season scoring, averaging 14.4 points per game and was named MVP of the 2021 WNBA Finals.
Sky Prevails In Playoffs Winning Their First Championship In WNBA History
To kick off the 2021 WNBA Playoffs, the Sky defeated the Dallas Wings in a single-elimination game finishing 1-0, followed by another victory in a single-elimination game against the Minnesota Lynx in the second round.
After earning back-to-back wins, the Sky defeated the No. 1 seeded Connecticut Sun in four games as part of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals to advance to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014.
In game 1 of the 2021 WNBA Finals, the Chicago Sky defeated the No. 5 seed Phoenix Mercury 91-77, led by 21 points from Copper. In Game 2, the Sky dropped an overtime thriller to the Mercury.
The Sky dominated in Game 3 and defeated the Mercury by 36 points (80-56), good for the largest margin of victory in WNBA Finals history in front of a sellout crowd at Wintrust Arena.
In Game 4, the Sky rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to secure the franchise’s first-ever title. They were led by forward Kahleah Copper, who was named 2021 WNBA Finals MVP.
Championship Rally And Parade At Millennium Park
In addition to the Sky clinching their first WNBA Championship in the franchise’s history, the city of Chicago honored and celebrated the team with a parade downtown and a huge rally on Tuesday, October 19.
The parade started at Wintrust Arena and concluded with a championship celebration program at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
“A huge shout out to [all of the] original season ticket holders,” said Sky President and owner Michael Alter. “We will not be here without you.”
After 16 seasons as a franchise, Alter said at the rally that winning the organization’s first-ever WNBA Championship is a dream come true. “This is a dream come true. Absolutely from day one,” Alter said.
In addition to Alter’s praise of his organization, Coach and General Manager James Wade delivered a striking narrative during the rally on how they recruited two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker during the off-season.
“We knew when the season started we had expectations for ourselves,” said Wade. “We spent the last two seasons getting eliminated in the first round and the second round.” Then Wade said with authority: “Then we made a phone call. We called CP3!”
Wade said Parker played an important role in helping the team achieve this championship.
In addition to his praise of Parker, Wade closed out his speech with a major prediction, saying, “Before you guys go, remember the seat you are sitting in right now,” he said. “You are going to be sitting in those same seats next year.”
Parker followed Wade’s speech, reiterating their team’s thirst for continued success, and sharing the team’s series prediction of the WNBA Finals.
“Sky in 4,” Parker said.
(Information courtesy of the Chicago Sky).
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.