Sports history was written this past summer when the L.A. Sparks took down the Dallas Wings 97–89 to secure the team’s 500th win, making it the winningest team in WNBA history.
What makes this accomplishment even more historic is the fact that the Sparks reached this milestone in just 837 games. The Milwaukee Bucks set the first professional basketball record in 1979, when they recorded 500 wins in 866 NBA regular season games.
A large part of the Sparks’ success is attributable to Nneka Ogwumike, a WNBA star and future Hall of Famer. “It’s a part of history,” said Ogwumike, a 10-year vet with the Sparks who helped contribute to 193 of their victories. “As a professional, these are the only colors I’ve ever worn… I just love being part of such a rich legacy.”
As one of only three franchises that have been with the WNBA since its beginning, Los Angeles’ history is rich with accolades. With three titles, the Sparks are akin to their NBA counterparts (L.A. Lakers) by having the second most championships of any WNBA franchise.
DeAndre Brumfield, resident of San Quentin and an avid Sparks fan, expressed his excitement about L.A.’s historic accomplishment. “I think it’s great. I think they’re proving that women’s sports deserve to get more coverage because they are out-performing some of the men’s (NBA) teams,” he said.
According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, throughout their history, the Sparks have reached the playoffs 20 times in 26 years. They have boasted 13 years with at least 20+ wins in the regular season. “There is so much culture here with our team and there’s so much success… I’ve played with legends that have their jerseys hanging up. I’m just glad to have been a part of another milestone moment with the Sparks,” Ogwumike said.
Multiple Hall of Famers and future HOFs have donned the Spark’s “Purple and Gold” throughout the years including Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Teresa Witherspoon, Candace Parker, and Kristi Toliver.
Michael Cooper of the great Show-time Lakers coached the Sparks to their first two championships (’01 and ’02) and Brian Agler lead them to their third in 2016.
Notwithstanding a recent coaching change from Lakers great Derek Fisher to veteran Coach Fred Williams and a 13–23 season marred by injuries that meant no trip to the playoffs that the Las Vegas Aces won, the Sparks’ future is bright. With stars like Ogwumike, Jordin Canada, Liz Cambage, and Te’a Cooper leading the way for the Sparks, winning another title seems likely in the not-too-far-distant future.