Los Angeles, CA — Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike.
Over the past two weeks, these two names have become synonymous with hard work, determination, skill, and success. It is no secret that these players have been extremely instrumental in the Los Angeles Sparks exceptional and historic season.
As the Los Angeles Sparks get ready to embark on this epic conquest, of capturing a WNBA Championship this week against the Minnesota Lynx, the dynamic duo has been hard at work to ensure that the Sparks’ road to a championship is paved with incredible teamwork and undeniable chemistry.
Parker and Ogwumike have personified ‘girl power’ in every way, consistently performing at a remarkably high level on the court. Their performance this year has left many fans asking, “What is their secret?”
How have Parker and Ogwumike galvanized this team of women to achieve higher than they have ever achieved before?
The answer is what Head Coach Brian Agler refers to as a “special chemistry” –a special bond. In the heat of competition, and the stress of WNBA Finals, Parker and Ogwumike have been leaders in promoting a particular kind of community amongst the team.
“They’re really positive,” said Agler when asked about two of his star players, “They bring out the best in each other and that carries off and on the court.”
In speaking with Parker and Ogwumike, one is immediately drawn to that radiant positivity. They permeate such a kind, humble, and warm ambiance- both ladies are more than just exciting basketball players, they are extraordinary women and people.
Even with their names headlining sports media across the country, they have remained down-to-earth and enjoy spending time together, not just as teammates, but as friends.
“We love to eat Chipotle and drink water,” Parker said with a laugh when asked how they like to spend their time when they’re not on the court. “Nneka has an unhealthy relationship with Chipotle. She is getting 20 burrito bowls catered to her house, and I’m going to help her eat them.”
In fact, both ladies possess that sense of humor, a characteristic that plays heavily in their bond as teammates. “Nneka is hilarious,” Parker admits. “She just puts things in layman’s terms and knows just what to say.”
“I think I’m pretty diplomatic,” joked back Ogwumike, but both ladies agreed, that teammates Chelsea Gray and Sixth Woman of the Year Jantel Lavender, also know how to keep the team’s spirits high with their jokes and wit.
But, how has this friendship with one another and the close-knit community of the team led the Sparks to victory on the court? Parker attributes it to an honesty that is grounded in good intentions: “We can say things to get things done, and we all know that whatever is said comes from a good place.”
With that trust and belief in one another, both Parker and Ogwumike are ready for their all-star team to take on the finals next week.
“It’s like a car,” said Ogwumike in reference to their stellar line-up of players this year, “we’ve spent years getting together all of the pieces that you need for a car to function, and now we’re finally looking at the entire model.”
And with Parker and Ogwumike in the driver’s seat, the 2016 Sparks’ model is on a fast-track to victory in the finals.
“The Finals will be a new experience for this team,” says Agler, “but they’re all looking forward to the challenge.”