See WNBA MVP Candace Parker's Emotional Tribute to Coach Pat Summitt - Rolling Stone
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See WNBA MVP Candace Parker’s Emotional Tribute to Coach Pat Summitt

Female basketball players paid tribute to legendary coach after her death due to Alzheimer’s

Candace Parker Tribute Pat Summitt Winningest Coach WNBACandace Parker Tribute Pat Summitt Winningest Coach WNBA

WNBA MVP Candace Parker gave an emotional postgame interview with Holly Rowe about Coach Pat Summitt.

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Candace Parker was a force to be reckoned with last night. With 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the second half alone, she helped the Sparks overcome a 22-point deficit against the Wings to push their record to a dominant 14-1 on the season. Parker finished the game with 31 points and 13 rebounds, the latter being a season-high for the two-time WNBA MVP.

If it looked like Parker was more motivated than usual, it’s because she was. Having attended the University of Tennessee between 2005 and 2008, she was coached by Pat Summitt, who passed away on Tuesday at age 64 due to Alzheimer’s Disease. To honor her former coach, Parker posted a handwritten recruitment letter from Summitt on Twitter earlier in the day, wrote “Rebound” on her shoes before the game and said that she’s playing for Summitt “from here on out” following the Sparks’ victory.

“I see coach’s glare and I hear her voice screaming at me to rebound,” Parker said. “Especially on the offensive end, you know, I see her little head going back and forth telling me to rebound. It’s very ironic that I had my season-high in rebounding tonight.”

Others paid tribute to Summitt throughout the day. Becky Hammon, who made history two years ago by becoming the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA, said Summitt was a “true pioneer in every sense of the word.” She was joined by many of Summitt’s former players, such as Cierra Burdick and Jody Adams, who took to social media to share their fond memories of the legendary coach.

Of course, Summitt’s influence stretched far beyond the basketball court. Many celebrities and professional athletes — Johnny Knoxville, Reggie Bush, Peyton Manning and Robin Roberts to name a few — also credited her for being an incredible coach and a class act.

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