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Bigger than basketball: Cancer, Holly Rowe, WNBA

During Tuesday night’s game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, one of the most memorable moments of the night happened on the sideline between ESPN reporter Holly Rowe and Minnesota Head Coach Cheryl Reeve.

Holly Rowe, cancer, WNBA, Cheryl Reeve Adam Pantozzi - Getty Images

Los Angeles, CA-- As WNBA fans know, Tuesday night offered a match-up for the ages between the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks. The Lynx ultimately came out on top, but one of the most important moments of the night didn’t happen on the court and had zero playoff implications.

Instead, it happened on the sideline. As the game aired on ESPN2, veteran reporter Holly Rowe, who has been battling cancer, interviewed Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve.

On a night promoting breast health awareness, with the Sparks dawning pink jerseys and the Lynx dawning pink socks and headbands, Reeve offered a different answer to Rowe’s question about how the Lynx were looking to counter LA’s Nneka Ogwumike.

“Holly, no matter what’s going on in the game, what’s more important is what’s going on with you,” Reeve said. “We are so proud of your strength and your fortitude and the way that you’re tackling breast cancer. And us bearing the name ‘Mayo’ is no more significant than a day like today for breast health awareness.

“So we are so proud of you, and we stand with you, and we think you’re absolutely amazing.”

Rowe, being the phenomenal reporter that she is, tried to ask a basketball-related follow-up.

“Nothing we’re doing today is as important as what you’re doing,” Reeve said.

Wow. What a moment.

Sports offer a fantastic outlet in all of our lives. But one of the reasons I love sports so much, is because they oftentimes offer us all a chance to look at the bigger picture and reflect.

Too often we have seen our colleagues in the field of sports journalism fighting cancer while continuing to work. Rowe is an inspiration to all of those who have followed her cancer battle as she continues her assignments for ESPN.

While many of us won’t remember the score of this game in the coming years, we will all remember the kind words shared between Cheryl Reeve and Holly Rowe on the sideline.