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Candace Parker shares handwritten letter from Pat Summitt

The Sparks star honors her former coach with a heartwarming message

A few hours after the basketball world learned longtime Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had died Monday, Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker shared a letter via Twitter. Parker played for Summitt at Tennessee from 2005-08. The letter was written when Summitt was recruiting Parker to play for the Lady Vols.

On Tuesday, Parker faced Dallas Wings forward Glory Johnson, who was also coached by Summitt. The Sparks prevailed with a 89-84 win over the Wings, where Parker led all scorers, finishing with 31 points and grabbing a season-high 13 rebounds.

It was difficult, but I felt a lot of strength from her [Summitt] and the Lady Vol family,” Parker said. “We all played with heavy hearts. You know I see coach’s glare and hear her voice screaming at me to rebound, especially on the offensive end. It’s very ironic that I had my season-high rebounding tonight.”

Watch Sparks highlights in their victory over the Wings.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.