On a team full of “role players,” the dad on the sideline with a rally towel knows his part.
Every time Courtney Williams steps back for a deep jump shot or jukes her defender for a clear look at a 3-pointer, her dad, Don, is pumping up Mohegan Sun Arena. He’s made waves two games into the semifinal, which the Connecticut Sun lead, 2-0, over the Los Angeles Sparks, and neither Williams is done yet.
The series shifts coasts to California for Game 3 in the best-of-five series, and yes, “of course,” Don will be there. Can you imagine him after the Sun clinch a spot in the finals? Just look at this stat line for game 2, via The Winsidr.
Don was asked what it’s like to watch his daughter play in the WNBA, and if this doesn’t make you swoon, you may need a Grinch-level heart surgery.
“It’s a feeling that if I could put it in a bottle and give it to people, I’d be a multi-millionaire. Everybody wants some of that kind of feeling. Every man that has a daughter wants what's best for his daughter. He wants to see his daughter succeed. Especially on this level. A daddy to a girl to see her succeed? Ah, I can’t describe it. I’ll try to put it in the right words: awesome, magnificent, wonderful.”
And then he called her shot! Williams, 25, lit up the court in the third quarter and finished with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists. She was 3-for-5 from 3-point range. There was nothing the Sparks could do to put an end to the onslaught.
The day before the game during shootaround, Don told WTNH-TV reporter John Pierson during an interview it’s a “different kind of dope,” then interrupted himself to yell encouragement at his daughter. The WNBA’s full thread on his presence at Game 2 is worthy, but this? This showcases it’s all about Courtney. And we love it.
“That’s my guy. That’s my guy,” Courtney Williams said. “He always brings energy just like I bring energy. So having him there, seeing him hyped up, getting me hyped, it [is] just taking my game to a whole ’nother level.”
Don may be too much for some. But for Courtney?
There is no shtick with these two and there doesn’t seem to be one coming. No bold exclamations about talent even as Williams has been overlooked in her career. No harsh media remarks about ignoring this team. In the second round less than a week ago, analysts were still saying there was no star on the Sun, just role players. Don could clap back (Jonquel Jones, hello?). He doesn’t.
It’s a welcome change from other spotlight dads.
Don didn’t expect to be here, either. It wasn’t the long-held dream. He told The Athletic’s Molly Yanity he wanted his daughters to be the next Serena and Venus Williams. Plans don’t always work out. That’s OK.
“But Courtney found that basketball and started playing, playing against all the guys in the neighborhood, so … basketball it was,” he told Yanity.
Her infectious energy and personality — the attributes that have made her a favorite in Uncasville, where she interacts with fans as her pre-game routine — comes directly from her dad and honestly, it’s what we all needed
No extras. No proclamations. No posing for the cameras. Just a dad, on the sideline, pumping up his daughter, an arena full of fans and now a national TV audience.
Game 3 is Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. Don will be there.
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