I don’t know what sorts of noises I’d make in the seconds after a professional basketball player ran full-speed into me, nor do I care to imagine myself in this scenario, thank you very much. Lots of wheezing, maybe. Meekly asking someone for help “getting my affairs in order,” whatever that involves. Perhaps, lacking consciousness and/or pulse, no noise at all. I am sure, however, that they’d be a lot more concerning and pathetic than the triumphant “yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh” we heard from Candace Parker after she took a charge from Diana Taurasi and got the call early in the first WNBA Finals game on Sunday.
These Finals don’t want for narrative threads to pick at (see: married teammates, married coaches on opposing benches, 2014 Finals rematch, a UConn vs. Tennessee battle), but Parker’s turn as hometown hero stands out in this series, which the Sky lead now after a 91-77 win against the Mercury in Phoenix. Corny as it sounds, Parker’s value to her team becomes especially clear in the moments she wears a microphone. “You have to be the calm for the storm and you have to be the storm when everyone’s calm,” she said, explaining a lesson she’d learned from her former teammate Lisa Leslie. You can often hear a mic’d-up Parker encouraging her teammates in between plays, offering them suggestions and compliments and reassurance. And sometimes, crucially, you can hear her going “Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Please enjoy some yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh-ing.