Brittney Sykes moved in silence and re-signed with the Sparks. The defensive juggernaut made 2nd team all-defense in the first season in Los Angeles, last year in 2020. Sykes will again strive to become Defensive Player of the Year, and she looks forward to furthering her career with the Sparks.
The Sparks franchise is building a defensive identity. Sykes is an integral piece of that puzzle. Head coach Derek Fisher’s coaching system allows Sykes to continue expanding her game, contributing to her building confidence in her jump shot.
The growing relationship between Sykes and Fisher played a critical role in her return to the Sparks. Fisher’s ability to relate with players comes from his eighteen-year career in the NBA, playing with Kobe Bryant and winning five championships.
When Sykes first signed with the Sparks, the WNBA had to play in the bubble due to the pandemic. So it was challenging to build a relationship. She told reporters that Fisher and the team made it easy for everyone to communicate. Although she enjoyed her time in the bubble, Sykes looks forward to playing without having to play games every other day. The bubble took a toll on the Women’s mental health.
“I’m looking forward to the rest that we should be able to get this regular season, then we did in the bubble. Of course, it was trying times, very difficult. Playing every day was very taxing on the body. Not only physically but emotionally and mentally. To get those couple of days in between should be good.”
Defense sparks Sykes’s energy every time she steps on the court; it boots her adrenaline. She stated, stopping the opposite team is embedded in her. “I’ve realized that that is who I am as a player, I get energy, I get fuel from defending, getting stops, and doing things that can ultimately lead to a win.”
Sparks assistant coach Latricia Trammel is a significant reason for Sykes’s defensive intensity. “She ignited that fire in me to want to be a defender because of how passionate I see her on defense, and that inspired me.”
Playing in college at Syracuse, specifically, her last two years helped prepare Sykes to become a professional athlete. Due to her injury, she worked out all day and didn’t have to attend class, Sykes jokingly states during her press conference.
“Being a pro is making sure you’re doing things to better yourself. I got an early start at ‘Cuse (Syracuse). I’m thankful I got that experience because it shaped me into the player I am today.”
Sykes’s leadership style is by demonstration, and she intends to be more vocal. “Leading by example has always been my thing, even in college. I’m really a person of a few words, but I always wanted to lead by example. If I can continue to do the things I’ve been doing and enhance those skills, even more, adjust and be vocal. I can be one of those consistent leaders to teach the ones who are younger than me to work and have a competitive spirit.”
Regardless of who is on the floor, Sykes wants to play her role and stay ready, so she doesn’t have to get ready. She states her transition from Atlanta to Los Angeles was a blessing.
Playing overseas basketball has helped Sykes games tremendously. She said the team she plays for allows her to be comfortable taking those jumpers. The muscle memory can help when the season starts.
Sykes congratulated Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray. She stated that it’s business, and they did what they needed to do for their career. “I look forward to seeing them again.”
Sykes is ready to go war with the current roster and compete for a championship.