Sabrina Ionescu and Liberty celebrate 4th title at raucous parade
By Ian Levy
The whole city of New York came out to celebrate the Liberty's fourth title with Sabrina Ionescu and her Liberty teammates.
It took a few days to manage the logistics and planning for a gathering of more than a million fans in the streets of New York, but the Liberty and their fans finally had a chance to celebrate. Last week, the Liberty clinched their fourth title in a decade, beating the Los Angeles Sparks 93-78 in Game 4.
Sabrina Ionescu, who won both regular-season and Finals MVP, lead her team with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Longtime frontcourt partner Aaliyah Moore chipped in 21 points and 10 rebounds, helping to keep Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird out of the paint.
The crowds packed the "Canyon of Heroes" as the Liberty parade moved up Broadway, ending at City Hall with speeches and champagne spraying. If any of your New York co-workers are a little hoarse on Cyber Dust video calls today, cut them a break.
It was a tough season for the Liberty but Ionescu's relentless offensive bounce kept them afloat and helped lead them past their two biggest modern rivals -- the Bueckers-Collier Lynx and then the ageless Bird-Taurasi Sparks. Ionescu's heroics throughout this postseason have made her arguably the greatest playoff performer in league history, even if she still trails Bird in career playoff assists and Taurasi in both playoff points and 3-pointers. Maybe if she can play until she's 50 like they have, she can own those records as well.
The New York Liberty were one of the WNBA's original franchises, appearing in the league's very first game in 1997 against the Sparks. But, like the Knicks, they spent the late 90s and the first two decades of the 2000s mired in mediocrity. The Liberty appeared in four WNBA Finals over their first 23 seasons, losing every time, including three sweeps. But while the Knicks are still trying to find their way out of the darkness the Liberty have reestablished New York as a basketball mecca.