Sparks Form "Big Three" of Their Own by Adding Tina Thompson

March 13, 2009

The Los Angeles Sparks have announced the signing of former WNBA All-Star Tina Thompson. By adding Thompson to a roster that already includes Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker, the Sparks will now feature three of the league's biggest stars. This spectacular lineup will be short-lived however, as Leslie has stated that she will end her fabulous career by retiring after the upcoming 2009 season.

Along with Leslie, Thompson has long been one of the WNBA's iconic figures. She has been a fixture on several U.S. National Teams, and has played in multiple WNBA All-Star Games. Last year she averaged a stellar 18 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Houston Comets. Thompson is the WNBA's second-leading career scorer behind Leslie.

For Thompson, the move signals a return home, as she attended Inglewood's Morningside High, and also starred at USC. She plans on wearing number 32 for the Sparks in honor of basketball legend Magic Johnson.

The Thompson-Leslie pairing has been done before, and thus, should not cause any chemistry problems. Both played together for one season at USC, and have been teammates on several gold medal-winning U.S. National Teams. That history proves that both players have enough versatility in their games to successfully complement each other. In addition, Michael Cooper's outstanding coaching should ensure that all the parts mesh properly.

Nevertheless, the real key to this team's championship aspirations might lie with budding superstar Candace Parker. She is due to give birth in May 2009, and will likely endure some period of struggle while trying to get back into playing condition. Should she fail to regain her form this year, the Sparks will at least have the luxury of falling back on their two future Hall of Famers for guidance.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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