(IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL.-WNBA Playing Site For 2020)—[July 24, 2020] The Los Angeles Sparks held their annual Pre-Season Media Availability Day and all working press covering the team, was “virtually” accommodated via a Zoom meeting link. Directing all of the interviews was Sparks’ Director, Public Relations & Communications, Eli Horowitz.
Second-year, Head Coach, Derek Fisher, former NBA Head Coach, 3 x World Champion, L.A. Lakers great, along with his (12) rostered players were all present for this special pre-season media event. Each had their own (10-15) minutes to field questions during their session. Some of the sport’s more well-established media organizations who were “on-line” included, ESPN, major daily and weekly newspapers such as the L.A. Times, the L.A. Daily News, and the L.A. Sentinel. Additional coverage was provided by the New Yorker magazine and other feature correspondents based in New York, and California. A credentialed group of reporters representing a variety of other outlets that ranged in platforms such as radio, internet, and social media from Los Angeles, Southern California, and other parts of the country rounded out the press corps. Altogether, a total of (30) outlets were present.
Coach Fisher opened the availability and was then followed for the next two hours by his players. The session was an excellent opportunity to pose questions to the players as they focused on their final days of practice before the season tips off on Saturday, July 25th, at 12 pm (PST), against the Phoenix Mercury.
In addition to his core group of players that starts with veterans Candace “CP3” Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, Chelsea Gray, Sydney Wiese, Riquana Williams, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Seimone Augustus (acquired as a Free Agent from the Minnesota Lynx), the brand new faces on the team include Reshanda Gray (6-2/F/3rd year-Baylor), Te’a Cooper (5-8/G/Rookie-California), Brittney Sykes (5-9/G/3rd year-Syracuse), Kristine Anigwe (6-4/F-C/1 year-California), and Marie Gulich (6-5/C/2 years-Oregon St./Germany).
To follow the Sparks during this 22 game season plus the playoffs, click here.
[Special Note From The Editor] A name not included here, but is worth a highly merited mentioning, is that of Alana Beard, who retired in January of this year, played for the Sparks from (2012-2019), and became a WNBA Champion in 2016. To her credit, she also earned the following accolades as a standout in her illustrious career: 4 x All-Star (2005-2007, 2009), 2 x Defensive Player of the Year (2017-2018), All-WNBA 2nd Team (2006), and 5 x All-Defensive 1st Team (2007, 2012, 2016-2018). She also enjoyed the undisputed acclaim of being one of the Sparks’ biggest fan favorites due to her leadership, dedication, hustle, commitment to community, and her tireless excellence in all categories of a professional athlete representing our City of The Angels. She will definitely be missed by all.
One final salute to Alana from my staff and I here at East L.A. Sports Scene. Easily identified by her jersey (#0), she always and graciously complied with our requests for post-game interviews, whether the Sparks won or lost. She gave to us what she gave to all of her Coaches and teammates—total respect, attention, and gratitude. Many, many Thanks for all of the time you gave to us, and your fans, especially those from East L.A. To Alana, we wish you God-Speed and great fortunes in all of your new life endeavors.
Players’ Update: Due to the COVID “Opt Out” clause, Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver will not be playing this season. They are expected to return to the team next season.