WNBA | Detroit officials, fans honor champions
The Detroit Shock won the WNBA title Sunday at the end of perhaps the most chaotic season in franchise history. A day later, players were...
DETROIT — The Detroit Shock won the WNBA title Sunday at the end of perhaps the most chaotic season in franchise history. A day later, players were honored by a mayor and City Council that could understand how they felt.
After all, while the Shock was overcoming injuries and fallout from a July brawl to win its third title in six years, the city was dealing with the Kwame Kilpatrick scandals and an economy in turmoil.
"This is the start of my third week on the job, and we are facing a great number of challenges right now," said interim mayor Ken Cockrel Jr., who took over after Kilpatrick was bounced from office in a deal with prosecutors that will send the former mayor to jail and put an end to a sex scandal that embarrassed the city. "That's why it is so important that we can host a celebration like this for a team that has given the city something to smile about."
The Shock played home games in Auburn Hills and the last three playoff games were in Ypsilanti, but held its victory party in front of hundreds of fans in downtown Detroit.
Shock players were in a mood to celebrate, even as many shivered on a chilly afternoon. Forward-center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who joined the team in an August trade, did a dance routine on her way to the podium.
Detroit led the Eastern Conference on July 22, when the worst brawl in league history broke out during an 84-81 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Shock player Plenette Pierson was suspended four games, but a bigger blow came when Cheryl Ford tore a knee ligament while trying to break up the fight. With two key players out, the team staggered into the Olympic break on a four-game losing streak.
Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer pulled the trigger on a trade with Washington that yielded McWilliams-Franklin.
It has been "an awesome eight weeks," McWilliams-Franklin told the crowd, before adding, "I don't think I could put up with Bill longer than that."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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