Earlier this week, the WNBA’s Chicago Sky announced it had extended the contract for General Manager and Head Coach James “Coco” Wade until 2025.
Sky fans have every reason to celebrate this extension. Here are my Top 4:
1. He’s A Great Coach
To put it simply, Coco is very good at his job. In his first year as head coach, he turned the Chicago Sky from a lottery team into the 5th seed with almost the exact same personnel, earning him Coach of the Year. He now holds the best regular-season record of any coach in Sky franchise history.
If you want to see Wade in action, here’s him drawing up a play with 13.6 seconds left for the Sky to win the game:
2. More Importantly, He’s a Great Man
Wade was outspoken throughout the 2020 season in support of Black Lives Matter and against police violence. I can’t catalog all of his actions and statements here. Instead, I’ll highlight a video that particularly moved me, in which Wade talks about the murder of George Floyd and raising his son in this world:
I also really encourage anyone to read his article in the Players’ Tribune about being labeled as “aggressive” because he is a black man:
As a Black man in America, I don’t have the margin for error to not be perfect.
It’s a lot of pressure. But that’s just life for anybody who’s looked down on in society: There’s always going to be so much pressure.
Racism has long been viewed as a Black problem … but I hope people are finally beginning to understand that it’s not. It’s not. It’s an American problem. It’s a world problem. It’s everyone’s problem.
This is a man I want leading my team.
3. We Stan A Litigious King
As a lawyer, I have nothing but respect for a man who has a point to make, supports it with concrete evidence, and argues it with conviction. Let’s take a look at Coco’s record from this past season:
Wade v. Phoenix-Sky Game Officiating: Wade iconically sent in 46 video clips to complain about the officiating of the Chicago Sky’s game against the Phoenix Mercury, in which Cheyenne Parker fouled out and Wade himself was ejected. Who knows if anything changed, but never accuse Wade of not coming with receipts.
Wade v. Connecticut “And 1” Sun: Wade also acted affirmatively to prevent further disputes. Per reports, Wade sent a memo to the refs ahead of the Sun-Sky playoff game to remind them that just because a player yells “and 1” does not mean there was a foul. As of writing, I have not been able to confirm whether Lauren Cox appeared as an expert witness:
Wade v. Elias Sports Bureau: The Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot, undisputed assist queen, broke another record in 2020 when she ended the year with 219 assists, putting her at 9.95 assists per game. This beat the previous records of 9.1, 8.6, and 8.1 assists per game, all also held by Sloot. And while your local middle schooler would confirm that 9.95 rounds up to 10, this was not enough for our litigious king. Coach Wade and his staff reviewed the tapes and confirmed that the original tally was an assist short (one assist had been erroneously credited to her wife and teammate, Allie Quigley). Thus, Wade ensured that Sloot would officially be the only WNBA player with a double-digit assist season.
4. The Warm Fuzzy Factor
If you consume as much Chicago Sky content as I do, you hear the same word over and over: “family.” Culture starts from the top, and it’s easy to see how Coach Wade fosters the concept of a family when he talks about this team. For example, on signing the contract extension, he said “I feel like I found my home.”
Wade’s immediate family is also incredibly charming. Coco is married to french basketball legend Edwige Lawson-Wade (this Google-translated article describes her as a “brilliant little elf, who sneaks between the big ones to make improbable baskets.”) Together, they have a son, mini-me Jet.
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