Candace Parker waited her whole life for this moment, so she did not want to take any chances.
As Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen’s half-court heave arced toward the backboard on Thursday night, the last seconds ticking off the game clock as it did, Parker held her breath. Or maybe she just couldn’t breathe. She watched the shot hit the glass, drop to the floor and then bounce right into her waiting hands.
Then, and only then, it was clear this season wouldn’t end like all the others. A WNBA championship was firmly in Parker’s grasp, and no one could take it away from her or her Sparks teammates.
“This is for Pat,” Parker said immediately after...