Sparks

Curt Miller Brings Success Script To Brightening Sparks

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Only the perfect author can write the proper ending if a script is three-quarters finished.

Consider the pivotal moment in The Matrix Reloaded, where the evil architect gives Neo a choice: save the world or save his lover, Trinity. Shockingly, Neo chooses Trinity, seemingly destroying humankind. Thankfully, this being Hollywood, the Earth ends up fine anyways.

But what about the Sparks after back-to-back years out of the playoffs? Who will save the league’s proudest franchise from the pain of disappointment?

Derek Fisher? A great man and coach but not quite the right person for the job.

Fred Williams? He provided startlingly effective chemistry, but LA decided his skillset was best suited for college ball.

Enter Curt Miller.

Game Of Inches

Gosh, we’ve all heard that one before. Isn’t a championship blowout the most satisfying outcome? Who wants a close game?

Regrettably, unless you’re Uconn or South Carolina, one play often decides national championships. Were it not for Nneka Ogwumike‘s heroics in Minneapolis, the Sparks could be in a 20-year title drought.

 

Goodness knows Miller knows the Lynx’s pain!

In 2019, his Sun was mere minutes away from the WNBA championship, but MVP Elena Delle Donne was too good to lose at home. After a bummer of a wubble for everyone (except for the champion Storm), Connecticut tied a franchise record with 26 wins in 2021.

However, having a bye is sometimes a monkey’s paw: a poisoned wish. Candace Parker and her Sky charged expertly into Uncasville to win game one, and Connecticut couldn’t recover.

His Sun career entered its seventh year with exasperating fans wondering: what will it take to win it all?

As Linkin Park once mused, sometimes solutions aren’t so simple. And in certain moments, even one of the world’s best basketball coaches doesn’t have enough resources.

Sun Down, But Miller Brews Again

Everything is relative, even if one can measure an accomplishment objectively. Yes, Miller led Connecticut to immense success in 2022, bamboozling the Sky in Chicago to reach the Finals.

It wasn’t enough to satisfy Sun supporters habituated to moderate playoff success. Becky Hammon‘s Aces, led by incredible MVP A’ja Wilson, was another opponent too talented for even the best Connecticut effort.

Thankfully, it’s often amazing how perfectly opportunities arise in life. For example, the state of Connecticut never would’ve been hoops-zany enough to support a WNBA team if, in 1985, Uconn didn’t choose the unproven yet shrewd Geno Auriemma.

Going further back, were it not for James Naismith creating a clever game for his students, women’s basketball would be outside even the most artistic person’s grandest imagination.

The Sparks, with a spectacular roster, just needed a new voice.

Miller needed a new home, not through any moral failure, but due to environmental limitations.

Serendipity!

A Blank Slate

Philosopher John Locke argued that a human’s brain is “tabula rasa,” or a blank slate, upon birth. A person starts with a brain free from ideas, and thoughts flow from an individual’s culture.

Happily, Miller doesn’t need to start Hollywood’s success from a blank blueprint. Ogwumike’s proud leadership directly produced a championship, and along with sharpshooting Saint Katie Lou Samuelson, the Sparks sincerely fight for Brittney Griner‘s freedom against the wicked Russian bullies.

Blank slate? No way! But Los Angeles does need an orange marker to supplement its purple-and-yellow masterpiece.

Although Neo arguably made the incorrect choice, everyone won despite the architect’s untruths. And as the Sparks transition to a new era, a kind leader, yet one with expectations, stares into the Sun as it sets on a beautiful day in Los Angeles history.

The rest of the women’s basketball world will face a defeating eclipse when it rises again next season.

 

About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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