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  Sparks History  
 

Sparks History

Quick Facts

 

Founded: 1997
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Home Court: STAPLES Center
Colors: Purple, Gold, & Teal
WNBA Championships: 2 (2001, 2002)
Conference Championships: 3 (2001, 2002, 2003)
Playoff Appearances: 10 (1999-2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)
Head Coach: Jennifer Gillom
General Manager: Penny Toler
Owners: Carla Christofferson, Kathy Goodman & Lynai Jones



Highlights

 

  • June 21, 1997...The Los Angeles Sparks and the New York Liberty tip-off the first WNBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. Sparks Guard Penny Toler scores the league's first basket at 19:01.
  • June 19, 1998...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie sets a WNBA record by pulling down 21 rebounds in the Sparks' victory over the New York Liberty.
  • June 21, 1998...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie notches her seventh straight double-double , setting a WNBA record.
  • August 11, 2001...Sparks become the first WNBA team to go undefeated at home for an entire season, finishing 16-0 at the STAPLES Center.
  • September 1, 2001...Sparks claim their first WNBA Championship to give the city a sweep of professional basketball titles.
  • September 1, 2001...Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to capture all three MVP awards (regular season, post season, All-Star) in the same season, joining NBA greats Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan and Willis Reed as the only professional basketball players to accomplish this feat. Won the regular season MVP award, the WNBA playoffs MVP, and the WNBA All-Star Game MVP - making her the first player ever to win all three awards in the same season.
  • July 22, 2002...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to record 3,000 points during the Sparks' 92-84 victory over the Orlando Miracle at the STAPLES Center. Leslie also records 24 points and 21 rebounds, tying the league record she set on June 19, 1998.
  • July 30, 2002...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to dunk in a game when she throws down a one-handed breakaway layup with 4:44 remaining in the first half in Los Angeles' 82-73 loss to the Miami Sol at the STAPLES Center.
  • August 29, 2002...Sparks rookie guard Nikki Teasley nails the game-winning shot in the waning seconds of Game 2 of the WNBA Finals to give the Sparks their second consecutive WNBA Championship, defeating the New York Liberty.
  • August 29, 2002...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie earns Finals MVP honors for the second straight year.
  • July 12, 2003...Sparks Guard Nikki Teasely earns All-Star MVP honors.
  • August 25, 2003...Sparks Guard Nikki Teasely finishes the year averaging 11.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds becoming the first player in WNBA history to average more than ten points, five assists, and five rebounds in a season.
  • July 29, 2004...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie scores her 4,000th career point becoming the first WNBA player to reach the milestone.
  • September 10, 2004...Sparks Center Lisa Leslie records the WNBA's third tripe-double, tying Margo Dydek's record for blocked shots in the process as her 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots leads the Sparks to an 81-63 victory over the Detroit Shock.
  • March 25, 2005…Sparks trade forward DeLisha Milton-Jones to the Washington Mystics for Chamique Holdsclaw.
  • Chamique Holdsclaw leads the Sparks in points and FT’s made in 2005
  • Sparks finish 17-17 in 2005 and barely make the playoffs as the #4 seed only to lose to eventual Champion Sacramento Monarchs.
  • June 14, 2006… Lisa Leslie is named to the WNBA’s All-Decade team
  • Lisa Leslie becomes first player in WNBA history to score 5,000 points and the Sparks home court at the STAPLES Center is dedicated to her and is name, “Lisa Leslie Court”.
  • August 1, 2006… Lisa Leslie earns three Player of the Week awards in 2006 behind her 3rd MVP performance year, weeks: 5/30/06, 6/19/06, 6/26/06, 7/17/06.
  • June 14, 2006… Lisa Leslie is named to the WNBA’s All-Decade team.
  • Sparks finish 2006 season 25-9 before losing to the Sacramento Monarchs for the second straight year in the second round of the WNBA playoffs.
  • December 7, 2006… WNBA approves the sale of the Los Angeles Sparks from Lakers to Katherine Goodman and Carla Christofferson.
  • Former Sparks Coach and two-time WNBA Champion Michael Cooper rejoins the Sparks organization as Head Coach.
  • Chamique Holdsclaw announces her retirement just five games into the 2007 season.
  • Lisa Leslie announces that she will take 2007 off to have her first child Lauren
  • Sidney Spencer leads the Sparks in total points (327) and is a Rookie of the Year Finalist.
  • Sparks finish 2007 at 10-24 and miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
  • October 23, 2007… Sparks win the top pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft.
  • April 9, 2008… Los Angeles Sparks select College Player of the Year Candace Parker as the #1 draft pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft.
  • April 22, 2008… All-star forward DeLisha Milton-Jones rejoins the Sparks in a trade with the Washington Mystics.
  • May 17, 2008… Candace Parker has a near triple-double in WNBA debut at Phoenix with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists.
  • June 22, 2008… Candace Parker records the leagues second dunk in history with a slam over Indiana in the final seconds of the game.
  • June 24, 2008… Candace Parker records the leagues third dunk and first in back to back games with a slam over the Seattle Storm.
  • August 1, 2008… The Sparks send Lisa Leslie, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Candace Parker to Beijing to compete in the 2008 Olympic games.
  • August 23, 2008… US wins gold, Lisa Leslie captures her fourth gold medal in a row and improves her Olympic record to 32-0. Milton-Jones gets her second gold and Parker gets her first.
  • August 28, 2008… Lisa Leslie records 17 blocked shots in three games between 8/30-9/1 with 8 apiece coming against the Monarchs and the Lynx.
  • September 19, 2008… The Sparks make their 9th playoff appearance and defeat the Seattle Storm in the first round before losing to San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals.
  • September 19, 2008… Lisa Leslie is name the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year after recording 97 blocks and 49 steals.
  • October 1, 2008… Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie are named First Team All-WNBA.
  • October 3, 2008… Candace Parker becomes the first player in WNBA history to be named Rookie of the Year and WNBA MVP in the same year.
  • June 2009... Forward Candace Parker has been nominated in the "Best WNBA Player" category for ESPN’s annual ESPY Awards, which honor the year’s best athletic performances. Parker has previously won ESPYs in 2008 for "Best Female Athlete" and "Best Female College Athlete," and in 2009 for "Best WNBA Player."
  • June 5, 2009... The Los Angeles Sparks reach an agreement with the Farmer’s Insurance Group of Companies to become the second team to secure a marquee partnership and wear branded jerseys. The Farmer’s Insurance Group of Companies name and logo will appear on player jerseys.
  • September 26, 2009... Lisa Leslie tallies 22 points and 9 rebounds in the final game of her WNBA career as the Los Angeles Sparks are defeated by the Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Finals. Leslie had previously announced that 2009 would be her final season, and retires as the all-time WNBA leader in points (6,263) and rebounds (3,307).
  • July 24, 2010... Marie Ferdinand Harris hit the 750 rebound and 300 steal milestone in her career with the W.N.B.A. after grabbing 3 rebounds and 1 steal in the Sparks win over the Sun.
  • August 4, 2010... Ticha Penicheiro set a franchise record of 15 assists in a game against Chicago.
  • August 4, 2010... Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton received her first start of the season against Chicago and recorded a double-double with career highs in both points, 16, and rebounds, 13, and also played a career high 38 minutes.
  • August 8, 2010... With 5:01 left in the 3rd quarter against San Antonio, forward Tina Thompson hit a 16 ft jump shot and became the all-time leading scorer in WNBA history surpasing former teammate Lisa Leslie.
  • August 8, 2010... DeLisha Milton-Jones hit her 700 career assist milestone after recording 3 assists in the loss to San Antonio. Milton-Jones also recorded her 500th career steal this season.
  • August 10, 2010... "Lisa Leslie Day" - The Sparks family proudly honored Lisa Leslie retiring her number 9 jersey which now hangs in the rafters at STAPLES Center.
  • August 20, 2010... The Sparks 98-91 victory over the Minnesota Lynx clinched a playoff spot for Los Angeles. The Sparks made the playoffs for the third consecutive year and the 11th time in franchise history.
  • August 9-22, 2010... Tina Thompson wins back to back player of the week honors.

     



Building A Dynasty

 

Established in 1997 as one of eight original teams in the WNBA, Los Angeles tipped off the WNBA Inaugural season on June 21, 1997 versus the New York Liberty at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, CA. A crowd of 14,284 watched as Sparks guard Penny Toler scored the first basket in WNBA history enroute to a 67-57 victory for the Liberty. The League concluded the inaugural season with a league-wide attendance average of 10,207 fans per game. Los Angeles compiled an impressive 74-48 record in four seasons at the Great Western Forum before following their NBA counterparts, the Los Angeles Lakers, to STAPLES Center, located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Led by former WNBA Coach of the Year, Michael Cooper, the Sparks went on to tie a League record and franchise best 28 wins in their WNBA debut at STAPLES Center in 2001. Posting a record-breaking 9-0 start to the 2001 campaign, Los Angeles completed the regular season undefeated at home with a WNBA best 16-0 mark. The Sparks also topped the League at No. 1 in points (76.3), defensive rebounds (.720), total rebounds (.39) and assists (18.3) per game and captured their first ever WNBA championship – sweeping the Eastern Conference Champion Charlotte Sting in the championship series. Former team point guard, Penny Toler retired from basketball in November 1999 to become the first WNBA player in the league’s history to go from the hardwood to the executive suite as General Manager of Player Personnel. She is also the fastest player-turned-manager in any men’s or women’s league to assemble a championship team (two years).

In 2002, the Sparks became the second team in WNBA history to repeat as Champions – going undefeated (6-0) through the playoffs en route to a sweep of the Eastern Conference Champion New York Liberty. The Los Angeles Sparks held an impressive 12-1 playoff record during their back-to-back championship seasons.

The 2003 season proved to be an injury riddled one for the Los Angeles Sparks. Resiliently, the Sparks overcame their injuries and went on to win the Western Conference Championship for a third consecutive season. The Sparks had a convincing Game 1 victory over the Detroit Shock 75-63. They were then faced with the scenario of trying to become the first team in WNBA history to win the Championship on the road. This feat nearly came to fruition as the Sparks overcame a 19 point deficit in Game 2 at Detroit; however, the Shock pulled out the nail-biter 62-61 to force a deciding Game 3. The championship game, held at The Palace at Auburn Hills, proved to be a historic event as it was home to the largest crowd in WNBA history – 22,076. The Detroit Shock’s victory was sealed by Deanna Nolan's three-point basket with 53 seconds remaining and perfect free throw shooting down the stretch.

The 2004 Sparks continued their impressive streak of playoff appearances by making it to postseason play for the sixth-straight year with a 25-9 regular-season record. However, the Sacramento Monarchs ended the Sparks’ chances of repeating as Western Conference Champions with a first-round series victory over Los Angeles. 2004 WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie led the league in rebounds per game and was third in scoring. Leslie and teammate Nikki Teasley each received All-WNBA recognition.

2005 introduced Los Angeles to 6-time WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw, who led the ’05 Sparks in points, free throws made and consistently ranked in the top three in the league for points, minutes, and field goals. Sparks veteran Lisa Leslie continued to impress fans in Los Angeles with her 15.2 points per game and 71 total blocked shots. A 2005 All-Star, Leslie made history as the first player to dunk in a WNBA All-Star game. With 13 wins and 16 losses under head coach Henry Bibby, assistant coach Joe “Jellybean” Bryant took over for the final five games (4-1) allowing the team to finish squarely at .500 (17-17). With a perfectly split record, the Sparks caught a glimpse of the postseason as their tireless efforts were outmatched by the Monarch’s for the second straight year.

2006 proved to be a historical year for the Sparks as players reached career milestones and as the organization changed ownership. Lisa Leslie became the first WNBA player to reach 5,000 career points and was named the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player for a career three times. Leslie’s copious career was honored in an on-court celebration in which then-team president Johnny Buss dedicated the court to the record-breaking center. Milestones by the Sparks did not cease there. In a historical presentation, Penny Toler’s decade of involvement with the Sparks as an exceptional player and as a dedicated General Manager, was recognized when her No. 11 jersey was retired during a Sparks game, marking the first female jersey to be retired at STAPLES Center. With Coach Bryant at the helm, the 2006 Sparks boasted a 25-9 regular season record and came back to beat the Seattle Storm after a first game loss in the Western Conference Semi-finals. The Sparks concluded the ’06 season when they were defeated at the Honda Center, formerly the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, when the Sacramento Monarchs came to visit in a battle to advance to the WNBA Finals.

After a decade of commitment, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Buss family sold the Sparks to a group of investors led by Carla Christofferson and Katherine Goodman. Fans themselves, Christofferson and Goodman are tenaciously focused on captivating Sparks fans through new and exclusive experiences. First order of business for the new owners was bringing back dynamic coach Michael Cooper to the Sparks. The Sparks are now one of seven WNBA teams to be owned and operated independently of NBA teams.

The 2007 season had its share of ups-and-downs. With Coach Cooper in place but star center and team captain Lisa Leslie not with the team, other players worked to fill the void. The team was hit by another surprise when star forward Chamique Holdsclaw announced her abrupt retirement from the WNBA just five games into the season. The 2007 season ended with the Sparks finishing with the worst regular-season record in the league and franchise history at 10-24 and for the first time in nine seasons the team failed to make the playoffs. One bright spot in the 2007 season was the spectacular play of rookie Sidney Spencer who led the Sparks in points (327), led WNBA rookies in free-throw percentage (88.1%), and in double-doubles (2).

The 2008 season brought excitement back to Los Angeles. After a disappointing season in 2007, the Sparks looked on paper like the best team in the WNBA with the return of three-time MVP Lisa Leslie and all-star forward DeLisha Milton-Jones. The addition of rookie sensation Candace Parker had Sparks fans seeing their third WNBA Championship coming in the fall of 2008. The Sparks were lead all season long by the big three as Parker led the team in scoring (18.5ppg) and rebounds (9.5rpg), Leslie chipped in 15.5 ppg and led the team in blocked shots (3.1bpg), Milton-Jones was also solid averaging 13.9 ppg and 6.3 rebounds. The Sparks finished the regular season in third place in the Western Conference and had returned to the playoffs. The Sparks took on the Seattle Storm in the first round and won the series 2-1 and were back in the Western Conference Finals. Fate had a different plan for the Sparks as it seemed they were only 1.3 seconds away from returning to the WNBA Finals when the San Antonio Silver Stars converted on a game winning basket. The Sparks lost game three in San Antonio and just like that, the season was over. Although the Sparks did not win their third WNBA Championship, they did take home three of the most prestigious individual league awards. Lisa Leslie won the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year award and Candace Parker became the first player in WNBA history to win both the Rookie of the Year award and the league MVP award in the same year. The Sparks finished 2008 with a 20-14 regular season record and look to next year with one goal in mind, bringing a WNBA Championship back to Los Angeles.

In 2010, the Sparks learned a valuable lesson; perseverance. Kicking off the season with out star forward Lisa Leslie was a first for Los Angeles, but there remained a promising future with the return of 2008 WNBA MVP & Rookie of the Year Candace Parker. Add veterans Tina Thompson, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Marie Ferdinand-Harris, Betty Lennox and Ticha Penicheiro to the mix and you’ve got a force to be reckoned with meaning, yet another possible run for a third WNBA championship in the fall. Even with a strong foundation the Sparks struggled early on winning only three of their first ten games. To make matters worse, Candace Parker suffered a shoulder injury on June 13 which would require surgery and would ultimately cause her to miss the remainder of the season. At the same time, guard Betty Lennox had surgery on her left knee and would also have to sit out. These were two big blows for the Sparks but two opportunities for others to step up in their absence. Four newcomers were introduced to the Sparks roster this year. Five if you include Head Coach Jennifer Gillom. With only nine healthy players Coach Gillom had some important decisions to make. Now the Sparks find themselves in the playoffs with 13 wins and fighting to make it to the Western Conference Finals for a third consecutive season.



Sparkstionary

All-Decade Team
In celebration of its 10th season of competition, the WNBA unveiled an All-Decade Team at the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game. The team featured Sparks center Lisa Leslie.


All-Defensive Team
Lisa Leslie was selected to the 2009 All-Defensive 2nd Team
Lisa Leslie was selected to the 2008 All-Defensive 1st Team
Lisa Leslie was selected to the 2006 All-Defensive 1st Team
Lisa Leslie was selected to the 2005 All-Defensive 2nd Team

Candace Parker was selected to the 2009 All-Defensive 2nd Team

 

All-Rookie Team
Candace Parker was selected to the 2008 WNBA All-Rookie team
Former Sparks forward Sidney Spencer was selected to the 2007 WNBA All-Rookie team
Former Sparks guard Marta Fernandez was selected to the 2007 WNBA All-Rookie team


All-Star
The Los Angeles Sparks have filled the rosters of the All-Star game, being represented by seven players and Head Coach Michael Cooper since the inaugural game in 1999. Sparks legend Lisa Leslie is a three-time All-Star MVP. Most recently, Tina Thompson represented the Sparks in the 2009 All-Star game. Leslie was named to the team but could not attend due to injury.


All-WNBA
Lisa Leslie was named to the All WNBA 1st or 2nd team in every season she’s played in.
Lisa Leslie All WNBA 1st Team in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008
Lisa Leslie All WNBA 2nd Team in 1998, 1999, 2005, 2009
Candace Parker earned All WNBA 1st Team honors her 2008 rookie season and 2nd Team honors in 2009
Former Sparks guard Tamecka Dixon was named to the All WNBA 2nd Team in 2001
Former Sparks forward Mwadi Mabika was named to the All WNBA 1st Team in 2002
Former Sparks guard, Nikki Teasley was named to the All WNBA 2nd Team in 2003 & 2004



B

Basketball Hall of Fame
Assistant Coach Marianne Stanley was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. Stanley is the 19th winningest basketball coach in history.


Bobbitt, Shannon
Sparks point guard Shannon Bobbitt was drafted out of the University of Tennessee in April 2008. Bobbitt is the only Junior College player to move on to the University of Tennessee and lead the Lady Vols to back to back NCAA Champions. Bobbitt led all rookies in assists in 2008 with 3.5 assists per game.



Burnett, Larry
Larry Burnett is in his 11th season as the “Voice” of the Los Angeles Sparks. Throughout the season, he’ll be sharing his thoughts on the team, the players, the WNBA, and just about anything that suits his fancy in Larry’s blog.



C

Champions, WNBA
The Sparks are two-time WNBA Champions with both championships coming back to back in 2001 & 2002.


Champions, Western Conference
The Sparks have won three Western Conference Championships (2001, 2002 & 2003)


Christofferson, Carla
Carla Christofferson is co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks and acquired the Sparks in December 2006 with a group of investors including other co-owner Kathy Goodman. Christofferson has been a Sparks fan since 1999 and wanted to be more involved and give fans the best experience possible. Christofferson is a partner in O'Melveny's Los Angeles office, Head of the Los Angeles office, and a member of the Business Trial and Litigation Practice. She is a member of The American Lawyer's 2004 "Litigation Department of the Year," and was recognized as a Southern California "Super Lawyer" in a survey conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles magazine (2005, 2006, and 2008).



Coach of the Year
Former Sparks Head Coach Michael Cooper garnered the WNBA Coach of the Year award in 2000 during his first year as the Sparks Head Coach in a year in which he led the Sparks to a franchise best 28-4 record.



Cooper, Michael
Coop” as he’s fondly known around Los Angeles was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Coop first joined the Sparks in 2000 and led them to two WNBA Championships and three Western conference Championships. After time in both the NBA and D-League, Coop returned to the Sparks from 2007-2009. After the 2009 season, Coop left to coach the USC women's basketball team. He is the winningest coach in Sparks history.



D

Defensive Player of the Year
Sparks Legend Lisa Leslie earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in both 2004 and 2008. In 2004, Leslie had a season career high 98 blocks, added 50 steals and 336 rebounds. In 2008, Leslie came just short of her career season high with 97 blocks and added 293 rebounds and 49 steals.



Draft Picks
The Sparks have chosen many key players over the history of the WNBA Draft and earned their highest pick, (#1), in 2008 and selected College Player of the Year Candace Parker.


 

Sparks Draft History

2009
First Round
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton
13th pick overall
Second Round
Ashley Paris
22nd pick overall
Third Round
Britney Jordan
35th pick overall
2008
First Round
Candace Parker
1st pick overall
Second Round
Shannon Bobbitt
15th pick overall
Third Round
Sharnee’ Zoll
29th pick overall

 

2007
Second Round
Sidney Spencer
25th pick overall
Third Round
Amanda Brown
38th pick overall

 

2006
First Round
Lisa Willis
5th pick overall
Second Round
Willnett Crocket
22nd pick overall
Third Round
Tiffany Porter-Talbert
36th pick overall

 

2005
Second Round
DeeDee Wheeler
26th pick overall
Third Round
Heather Schreiber
39th pick overall

 

2004
First Round
Cristi Thomas
12th pick overall
Second Round
Doneeka Hodges
25nd pick overall

 

2003
Second Round
Schuye LaRue
27th pick overall
Third Round
Mary Jo Noon
42nd pick overall

 

2002
First Round
Rosalind Ross
8th pick overall
Second Round
Gergana Slavtcheva
30th pick overall
 
Jackie Higgins
32nd pick overall
Third Round
Rashana Barnes
48th pick overall
Fourth Round
Tiffany Thompson
64th pick overall

 

2001
First Round
Camille Cooper
16th pick overall
Second Round
Nicole Levandusky
32nd pick overall
Third Round
Kelly Siemon
48th pick overall
Fourth Round
Beth Record
64th pick overall

 

2000
First Round
Nicole Kubik
15th pick overall
Second Round
Paige Sauer
31st pick overall
Third Round
Marte Alexander
47th pick overall
Fourth Round
Nicky McCrimmon
63rd pick overall

 

1999
First Round
Delisha Milton
4th pick overall
Second Round
Clarisse Machanguana
16th pick overall
Third Round
Ukari Figgs
28th pick overall
Fourth Round
La'Keshia Frett
40th pick overall

 

1998
First Round
Allison Feaster
5th pick overall
Second Round
Octavia Blue
15th pick overall
Third Round
Rehema Stephens
25th pick overall
Fourth Round
Erica Kienast
35th pick overall

 

1997 Elite Draft
First Round
Daedra Charles
8th pick overall
Second Round
Haixia Zheng
16th pick overall

 

1997
First Round
Jamila Wideman
3rd pick overall
Second Round
Tamecka Dixon
14th pick overall
Third Round
Katrina Colleton
19th pick overall
Fourth Round
Travesa Gant
30th pick overall


Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You
A four-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time MVP of the WNBA and the first woman ever to dunk in a professional basketball game, Lisa Leslie is considered one of the greatest players in the history of women's basketball. Now in her own words, she points the spotlight onto her remarkable life off the court, where being a confident champion was not always simple. Purchase the memoir at www.amazon.com.


E

 

Eastern Conference
The WNBA is divided into two conferences, East and West. The Eastern Conference claimed the first WNBA Championship when the Houston Comets topped the New York Liberty in 1997. In all, 11 franchises have played in the Eastern Conference at one time or another.

New York Liberty, 1997-present

Detroit Shock, 1998-present

Washington Mystics, 1998-present

Indiana Fever, 2000-present

Connecticut Sun (formerly Orlando Miracle), 2003-present

Chicago Sky, 2006-present

Charlotte Sting, 1997-2006

Cleveland Rockers, 1997-2004

Miami Sol, 2000-02

Orlando Miracle, 1999-2002

Houston Comets, 1997-2008

Tulsa (formerly Detroit Shock), 2009-present



F

FanAddict
As a Sparks season ticket holder, you are a Most Valuable Person (MVP) within our Sparks organization. MVP status entitles you to exclusive benefits and unprecedented access to the best women’s professional athletes in the best facility in the world! Here are 10 reasons to become and MVP today:

Personalized Attention
Invitations to Exclusive Events
Best Entertainment Value in LA
Special Discounts on Parking
Priority for Playoffs
Countless Ways to Use Tickets
Latest Sparks News
Exclusive MVP Gift
Ticket Exchange & Forwarding
STAPLES Center & Arena Club


FANtourage
Get on the Sparks "A-List"

Are you a SparksAddict?

Do you want to share the fun and excitement of being part of the Sparks family?

Would you like a chance to have a road trip with the Sparks, custom airbrushed Sparks autographed shoes and other exclusive experiences?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then FANtourage is the club for you! Join us as member of our all new FANtourage....your leads to sales can earn you these and other perks no other passionate Sparks fan can get!


Ferdinand-Harris, Marie
Sparks guard Marie Ferdinand-Harris joined the Sparks in 2008 after spending her entire career first with the Utah Starzz and then newly formed San Antonio Silver Stars. Ferdinand-Harris took 2006 off to have her first child in June 2006. With the Silver Stars, Ferdinand-Harris started 148 out of 180 games and in her first year with the Sparks started 25 of 33 games she played in.


Finals, WNBA
The Sparks have made three trips to the WNBA Finals in 2001, 2002 & 2003. The Sparks won Championships in 2001 & 2002 and had their 3-peat spoiled by the Detroit Shock in 2003.


Florida, University of
The University of Florida has given the Sparks current players DeLisha Milton-Jones and Vanessa Hayden. Milton-Jones is an all-star forward that helped lead the Sparks to back to back WNBA Championships in 2001 & 2002. Hayden joined the Sparks in 2009 and has given the Sparks a solid defensive option off the bench.


G

 



Goodman, Kathy
A season seat holder since the team’s inception in 1997, Kathy Goodman acquired the Los Angeles Sparks after ten seasons of sitting in the stands as a fan. A regular at Sparks games and WNBA events, Goodman and co-owner Carla Christofferson created a vision of community and family for her favorite professional sports team and now has the opportunity to see that vision through. Currently, Goodman teaches high school English and Social Studies at HighTechHigh-LA, an LAUSD-dependent charter school in the San Fernando Valley, recently named a California Distinguished School.


Great Western Forum
The Los Angeles Sparks called the Great Western Forum home from 1997 to 2000 before moving to STAPLES Center for the 2001 season.


I

Influencer Event
Host a Sparks influencer event with friends, family, co-workers, and other basketball fans and have the opportunity to have the Sparks GM, Owner and or Players in attendance! Simply get a group of people together who you think might be interested in purchasing season tickets, group tickets or partial plans and we'll take care of the rest, including entertainment, food, soft drinks, raffle prizes and even the venue, if you prefer to not host the event at your house. We will also give you a pair of courtside tickets to a Sparks home game (subject to availability) during the 2010 season if six (6) season tickets are purchased at the event. To find out how you can get more involved with the Sparks, email tickets@la-sparks.com.


L

Leslie, Lisa
Lisa Leslie is widely known across the league as the face of the WNBA. The three-time WNBA MVP, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time WNBA Champion and four-time Olympic Gold Medalist scored more points and pulled down more rebounds than any player in the history of the WNBA. Leslie officially retired from the WNBA in 2009. For her career, she averaged 17.3 points and 9.1 rebounds.


Los Angeles Sparks
The Los Angeles Sparks are in their 12th season in the Women’s National Basketball Association. The Sparks are one of the eight original teams in the WNBA. In December 2006, the Sparks were purchased by Gemini Basketball, LLC and they are one of seven WNBA teams owned and operated independent of NBA teams. For the first time in franchise history, the Sparks won the top pick for the 2008 WNBA Draft and selected college basketball player of the year Candace Parker of two-time NCAA champion Tennessee. The Sparks were led to back-to-back WNBA Championships in 2001 & 2002 by head coach Michael Cooper. The team’s roster of star athletes is led by three-time league MVP Lisa Leslie and includes All-Star forward DeLisha Milton-Jones, 2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year Temeka Johnson, stand-out 2007 rookie Sidney Spencer and Parker. The Sparks play their home games at STAPLES Center in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. For Sparks’ ticket information, call 1-877-44-SPARKS.


Louisiana State University
LSU has delivered to the Sparks stand-out players Temeka Johnson and Marie Ferdinand-Harris. Both Johnson and Ferdinand-Harris were part of the 2008 team that returned the Sparks to the playoffs after missing them in 2007. Both received many awards and accolades during their time at LSU including a 2001 Kodak All-American selection for Ferdinand-Harris and an AP All-America Second Team selection for Johnson.




Milton-Jones, DeLisha
All-star forward DeLisha Milton-Jones returned to the Sparks in 2008 after a short stint with the Washington Mystics. DeLisha, also known as “D-nasty” and alternatively “Sunshine” has brought leadership and heart to the Sparks team in every season she’s played in. Milton-Jones was also selected to participate in her second Olympic games in Beijing in 2008 in which she won her second gold medal. The first coming at the Olympic games in Sidney. Milton-Jones has been selected to two All-Star teams and has started 280 of 299 career games she’s played in.



MVP
As a Sparks season ticket holder, you are the Most Valuable Person (MVP) to our organization and we will treat you like one. In addition to discounts over single game prices and seat priority, your MVP status entitles you to exclusive benefits and unprecedented access to your Los Angeles Sparks. For more information, call 877-44-SPARKS.

MVP, All-Star Game
Among her many awards and dominating career in the WNBA, Lisa Leslie also has All-Star game MVP awards to add to her resume. Leslie won the All-Star game MVP award in 1999, 2001 & 2002.

MVP, WNBA
The Sparks have two current players that have received the Most Valuable Player award in the WNBA, Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker.

Lisa Leslie, WNBA MVP 2001, 2004, 2006

Candace Parker, WNBA MVP 2008

MVP, WNBA Finals
During the Sparks back-to-back Championship run, Lisa Leslie garnered WNBA Finals MVP awards in 2001 & 2002.


O

Ole Skool Crew
With a motto of “Fabulous and Over Forty,” the Ole Skool Crew brings smooth moves and high energy to the Los Angeles Sparks halftime shows. As the premier halftime performers for the Los Angeles Sparks, the Ole Skool Crew made up of incredibly talented and truly blessed women over 40, are strutting their stuff, raising the roof, and inspiring the crowd to “jump up out of their seats” during the Sparks home games at the STAPLES Center.


Olympic Games
For the 2008 games in Beijing, the Sparks were the only team on the league to be represented by three players from their team. The Sparks sent Olympic star Lisa Leslie, DeLisha Milton-Jones and rookie Candace Parker. Leslie won her fourth straight gold medal and improved her Olympic Games record to an impeccable 32-0.



P


Parker, Candace
Perhaps the most celebrated rookie ever, Candace Parker was drafted by the Sparks with the #1 overall draft pick in 2008. Parker did not disappoint in her rookie year getting to a quick start by nearly achieving a triple-double in her first WNBA game. Parker is the only player in the history of the WNBA to record a 5x5 game, the second player in the history of the league to dunk the ball, which she did in back to back games and the ONLY player to ever win the MVP award and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Parker led the league in rebounding in 2008 and led all rookies in scoring, rebounds, blocked shots and minutes per game.

Peak Performer
The Sparks have several players both past and present who have taken away postseason Peak Performer awards.

Haixia Zheng took the Western Conference Shooting Champion award in 1997

Latasha Byears took the Peak Performer award in 2001 for best FG%

In 2004, Lisa Leslie won the Peak Performer award for rebounding

Candace Parker garnered the Peak Performer award for rebounding in 2008 and 2009


R

Road Trips
Calling all Sparks Fans...Don’t miss your opportunity to travel like the team when we pile in to the Sparks Party Bus and Plane to follow the team on the road and show Sparks support! If you just can't get enough of your Sparks, these are the trips for you! For more information contact Sparks Community and Fan Relations Manager Denise Herron at dherron@la-sparks.com.

Rookie of the Year
Sparks forward Candace Parker brought the Rookie of the Year award to Los Angeles in 2008. The first by any Sparks player.


S

Slam Dunk
The Sparks have the only two players to dunk in the WNBA. Lisa Leslie threw down the league’s first dunk in 2002 and Candace Parker followed suit in 2008 with the league’s second and third dunks in back to back games.

 

Sparky
Sparks co-owner Carla Christofferson dreamed up Sparky, an oversized mascot dog that entertains the crowd during breaks in the game. Sparky can be seen at every game, electrifying the crowd with his charm and charisma.


Stanley, Marianne
Hall-of-Fame coach Marianne Stanley rejoined the Sparks staff as an assistant coach in 2008. Stanley's decorated basketball career began as a two-time national champion while playing at Immaculata College near Philadelphia. She joined the coaching ranks at age 23, and guided Old Dominion University to three national championships. Stanley has also served as head coach at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Southern California, where she coached outstanding players such as Lisa Leslie. Stanley posted a 416-222 (.652) record in 21 seasons as a college head coach, guiding her teams to 10 NCAA Tournament berths. Three times her teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, and five times reached at least the Elite Eight.

 


STAPLES Center
The Los Angeles Sparks have called STAPLES Center home since the 2001 WNBA season. Prior to that, the Sparks played their home games at The Great Western Forum.



T

Tennessee, University of
The University of Tennessee has been good to the Sparks giving them Shannon Bobbitt and Candace Parker. The duo led the Lady Vols to back-to-back championships in 2007 & 2008.


Tickets
The Los Angeles Sparks offer a wide variety of single game ticket specials at a great value. We have teamed up with our partners to offer you the most exclusive ticket specials. Ticket specials may be purchased by going to www.lasparks.com (depending on ticket special discount) or at the STAPLES Center Box Office. All ticket specials are subject to availability, valid only at time of purchase, certain restrictions apply. For more information, call 877-44-SPARKS.


Toler, Penny
Toler was a point guard allocated to the Los Angeles Sparks during the player initiation round in the 1997 WNBA draft. She is most commonly remembered as the first player to score a basket in the WNBA. She did so against the New York Liberty on June 21, 1997 at the Los Angeles Great Western Forum. Toler also made the first free throw in the WNBA history. In November 1999 she retired as a player to become the general manager of the Los Angeles Sparks. Immediately after taking on a management role, she would assemble the Los Angeles Sparks roster that would become the championship team in 2001. Among all professional men or women sports league, Toler would become the fastest person to go from a player to general manager status to winning a championship in the short span of just 2 years.


Triple Doubles

Lisa Leslie is the only Sparks player to record a triple-double in the WNBA. She scored 29 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked 10 shots against the Detroit Shock in September 2004.


U

University of Southern California
All Trojan fans unite in thanking the University of Southern California for housing Lisa Leslie. The most decorated player to date in the WNBA has led the Sparks to two WNBA Championships, been the league MVP three-times and is the most dominant women’s basketball Olympian in U.S. history. During her time at USC, Leslie set the PAC 10 scoring bar high and still owns the record at 2,414 points was the National Player of the Year as a senior and led the Women of Troy to the NCAA tournament in all four seasons she was there.


W

Western Conference
The WNBA’s Western Conference has been the dominant conference in the league with seven of the first ten champions coming from the West. Only the Detroit Shock and Houston Comets have won a WNBA Championship from the Eastern Conference (Houston was in the Eastern Conference during the 1997 season). In all, nine franchises have played in the West at one time or another.

Los Angeles Sparks, 1997-present

Phoenix Mercury, 1997-present

Sacramento Monarchs, 1997-present

Houston Comets, 1998-present

Minnesota Lynx, 1999-present

Seattle Storm, 2000-present

San Antonio Silver Stars (formerl

Portland Fire, 2000-2002

Utah Starzz, 1997-2002

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)
The NBA Board of Governors approved the concept of the Women's National Basketball Association on April 24, 1996 with its first season of competition to begin in the summer of 1997. On October 30, 1996, the league selected eight cities to host the WNBA's charter teams - Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah. The league currently operates with 13 franchises. These franchises are split into two conferences (the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference).





   
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