July 17, 2021
How the Chicago Sky All-Stars made history this week
Parker is first WNBA star featured on NBA2K, Quigley three-peats in 3-Point Contest
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WNBA All-Star Week may be over, but the records and the significance of the accomplishments will last far longer for the Chicago Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot, Candace Parker, Kahleah Copper and Allie Quigley.
Quigley: The undisputed Queen of 3-Pointers
Quigley was already a three-time WNBA All-Star and the all-time leading scorer in Sky history, with more than 3,000 career points leading into the halftime 3-point contest at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
In previous competitions, Quigley had beaten legends of the WNBA—Maya Moore and Sue Bird in 2017, Renee Montgomery and Kristi Toliver in 2018—and this year, she was competing against Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd and New York Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb.
How did she pull off another win?
The contestants had 70 seconds to shoot from five racks of balls worth one or two points. A special pedestal held “3-Balls” that were worth three points each.
Quigley, her face a study in focused determination, worked with the precision and accuracy of a brain surgeon, going for the money balls at every location and scoring 28 points to advance to the championship round.
Determined to get the money shot, Quigley, who is half of the couple affectionately known as Vanderquigs after her 2018 marriage to Vandersloot, made nine of her last 10 shots in the championship round, scoring 28 points and sealing her record-setting third WNBA 3-Point Contest title. Vandersloot rushed to her side. “Did l get it?” Quigley mouthed. ‘Slootie’ nodded and the two joyously embraced.
A minute later, Quigley was accepting the trophy when she made an announcement that drew a chorus of boos heard throughout Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
“I promise this is the last time I’ll do this,” she said to the crowd. “I told myself, ‘No more!'”
She explained why at the postgame press conference. Confessed the 35-year-old, “I wanted to go out on top.“
Just how remarkable was Quigley’s three-peat? No other WNBA player has done it, and in the NBA, only Celtics legend and Indiana native Larry Bird and Chicago Bulls sharpshooter Craig Hodges have won the 3-Point Contest three times. Quigley has now won 37.5% of all WNBA All-Star 3-Point Contests.
Sky All-Stars distinguish themselves
Quigley wasn’t the only one who distinguished herself at the All-Star Game. The Sky’s All-Stars were ferocious competitors in the 93-85 victory over Team USA:
Parker had five points, five rebounds and five assists.
Vandersloot had seven assists and one rebound.
Copper had nine points, two rebounds and one assist.
Parker: “I’m hopeful there’ll be many more badass women to follow”
In Parker’s storied 13 years as a professional basketball player, she’s earned every conceivable honor, including two MVP awards. During All-Star Week, she became the first WNBA player to grace the cover of the popular NBA2K22 video game. Parker’s version celebrates the WNBA’s 25th anniversary with a special edition game.
“The cover of NBA 2K is such a pivotal platform to inspire young ballers, and I wanted future WNBA stars to know that they can be cover athletes too,” Parker said in a statement.
According to the website Engadget, the physical edition for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X features a “bundle” of seven exclusive in-game WNBA jerseys, including one for Parker. The game costs $70 and will be available on Sept. 10.
“I think as a kid you grow up with Slam covers all over your bedroom ceiling,” she told VGR. “As a hooper, you grow up wanting your own show, and you grow up wanting to be on a video game,” she said.
She made Shaquille O’Neal cry
CNBC recounted Wednesday’s episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” in which Parker shared that being in a video game was a childhood dream of hers. Although she’s the first WNBA player to make it happen, she hopes that she won’t be the last.
As Parker spoke, the camera zoomed in on O’Neal as he buried his head in his hands and wiped his eyes.
“I hope that there’s many more young women and young girls that look and say, ‘We can do this,’” she said.
“So, for this to happen, I mean, I just remember growing up playing with Shaq [in 2K],” she continued. “Like playing with my brothers against Shaq and getting it down low for him to do his hook. And, you know, as your days kind of get fewer in your career and you know there’s more basketball behind you than in front of you, I think you really take these moments. And so this means a lot,” Parker said.
What’s next for the Sky?
After the Olympic break, the Sky will return to action on Aug. 15, when they host the Seattle Storm at Wintrust Arena. They currently rank fifth in the league with a record of 10-10.
Stay tuned for updates on Stefanie Dolson’s 3×3 basketball performances in the Olympics, updates on what non-Olympians are doing during the break and maybe more surprises at The Next!