Parker, WNBA deliver greatness with brawl

Does anyone remember the WNBA commercial that came out when Candace Parker signed with the L.A. Sparks?

The one in which Parker recites, “I’m sorry, but you couldn’t pay me to watch women’s basketball. Nothing exciting ever happens.”

Remember those?

It was a good commercial showing that Parker is the future of the NBA. Producers flash to a close-up of her and she says: “Expect great.”

Well, I have to say that she has delivered on that. Not when she became the second woman in the WNBA to slam dunk — the first was her teammate Lisa Leslie. Not when she did it for a second time.

And definitely not when she won two ESPYs — one for best female college athlete and the other for best female athlete.

No, she proved her greatness to me when she got involved in the recent brawl between the Sparks and the Detroit Shock.

In case you missed it: Parker and Detroit’s Cheryl Ford had to be separated after Ford fouled Parker.

On the next possession, Parker got tangled up with Detroit’s Plenette Pierson and fell to the ground. As Parker was getting up, Pierson hovered over the Sparks’ rookie, who pulled her to the ground.

Parker then was tackled by the Shock’s Deanna Nolan. Players and coaches from both teams joined in, and Mahorn — who said he simply was trying to separate players — pushed Leslie at one point and knocked her to the court. Los Angeles’ DeLisha Milton-Jones then pushed and punched Mahorn in the back.

Now, I know it sounds bad when I say that I loved watching every second of that clip, but I really did. I watched it over and over again because I thought it was great. It’s the perfect answer for everyone who thinks women’s basketball is boring — me included.

I will admit that I have only watched a handful of games since the league’s inception, but it’s precisely because I thought, just like many other people, that it wasn’t all that intense.

I had the idea that the WNBA wasn’t as physical and wasn’t as hardcore as its male counterparts. But the women involved in Tuesday’s brawl proved me otherwise.

They proved to me that they weren’t dainty girls in basketball uniforms. They showed me they were really passionate players who, just like the men, can get wrapped up in the heat of competition.

They showed me that it didn’t matter whether you are a male or female, when pushed, people push back.

It’s exactly the boost the league needed to get attention, even though some players and the league president Donna Orender said they don’t welcome it.

They’ve said in interviews that they don’t want the negative press for the league.

Haven’t they heard that there is no such thing as negative press?

It got massive attention, not to mention, a lot of play in highlight reels and I’m sure thousands of hits on Youtube.

If it did anything, at least it converted one person into a believer — me.

I don’t want it to sound like I encourage this type of behavior, but these things happen.

The players and Mahorn were suspended as a result and that’s really the end of it. The brawl happened.

I thought it was great. Candace Parker delivered great for me and I’m now flip-flopping from being a critic to believing in the WNBA. I hope more fans tune into them now.

• Vin A. Cherwoo of the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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