- Candice Parker says fights, like Draymond Green and Jordan Poole, “happen a lot” in the WNBA.
- The healthiest and most competitive teams, she said, are the ones where players say “how they really feel.”
- “I’d rather just blow it up, and then we can solve the problem, versus people staying calm,” she said.
Draymond Green’s encounter with teammate Jordan Paul – which ended with a punch in Paul’s face while training Golden State Warriors – came as little surprise for Candice Parker.
“Obviously I think there’s a place and a time for that, you know, do feelings get over us sometimes? Sure,” Parker told Insider. “But it’s part of it, and it’s about dealing with the team and not having to explain to everyone.
“And I think that’s what the Golden State was trying to achieve,” she added.
During the increasingly growing October 5 practice, Green and Paul got into an argument that became physical. At one point, Paul—a fourth-year guard who just got a nine-figure extension with Golden State—pushed Green in the chest. The four-time NBA champion and four-time All-Star responded by hitting his teammate in the face. The altercation was recorded on tape that was leaked to TMZ two days later.
Green has since apologized and is back on the team after a short hiatus. Paul says his focus now is on winning another title besides Green.
Parker – the two-time WNBA MVP – explained to Insider that these types of situations “happen a lot” in the WNBA.
“Yes, sure, it did,” she added, referring to the fights between the two teams in the NBA.
But Parker, who has won a pair of championships with two different franchises over the course of her 15-year career in the WNBA, doesn’t necessarily see the conflict between her teammates as a bad thing. She believes that players “express themselves” is critical to building and maintaining team harmony.
Plus, “whether it’s a physical altercation, whether it’s words,” saying what needs to be said is better than saying nothing at all.
“The hardest teams I’ve ever been in – and I mean the most difficult to play in the environment – are when people don’t say what needs to be said,” Parker said. “You know, I’d rather just blow it up, and then we can solve the problem, versus people staying quiet in meetings and not saying what they really feel or expressing themselves.
“Those are the teams that lose,” she added.
A teammate of Parker’s Chicago Sky – 2021 WNBA Finals Kahleah Copper – told Insider back in August that the seven-time WNBA All-Star is known to be a speaker on their team. When she first joined her hometown team in Chicago prior to the 2021 season, Parker filled a niche Cooper had never seen on the team before.
“Everyone has a different leadership style, but we’ve never had a leader in communication, who was very outspoken and would be able to get the point across directly,” Cooper said. “I watch Candice all the time. Candace, when I first got here, she was just such a great addition and she inspired me in so many ways. Just getting in touch directly, whatever it is we need to talk about, because in the end we all want to win.”
“She’s really good at holding herself accountable as well as holding everyone else accountable when we need her most,” she added.
Parker also believes that more “competitive” teams are more likely to have players with a passion to fight for what they believe is best for the team. In other words: they want to win.
She referenced “The Last Dance,” a massive ESPN documentary series that captured Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 1990s. During one of the series’ 10 episodes, fans learned that Jordan had once hit teammate Steve Kerr – who now coaches Green and Paul with the Warriors – during a Bulls training.
“Teams that usually fight for things or are upset or whatever usually play for something and usually win,” Parker said.
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