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Houston Comets' Cynthia Cooper holds up the jersey of former teammate Kim Perrot as she celebrates after the Comets beat the New York Liberty 59-47 to win their third straight WNBA Championship Sunday in Houston. Cooper also received her third straight WNBA Championship Series Most Valuable Player award. Perrot, who played for the Comets, died of cancer last month.
WNBA Loved Player, Kim Perrot, Dies of Cancer
For three seasons, the Comets' rallying cry has been "Raise the Roof." By finishing off the New York Liberty 59-47 Sunday in Game 3 of the WNBA Championship Series, the Comets, indeed, raised the roof. About as high as it can possibly go. All the way to heaven, it seems, where Kim Perrot could enjoy the party, too. So with the clock ticking down on the victory that gave the Comets their third straight WNBA title, Cynthia Cooper wanted to make sure Perrot got her invitation to the celebration. With 1:18 remaining and the Comets up by 15 points, Cooper was fouled, giving her two free throws. Before striding to the free-throw line, Cooper raised her arms, her right index finger extended and her left hand in a fist to signify the No. 10 worn by Perrot, her teammate and closest friend, who died Aug. 19 of cancer.
The sellout crowd of 16,285 at Compaq Center picked up on the gesture, chanting, "Three for Kim, three for Kim," until the final horn sounded. And when it did, Cooper leaped on the scorer's table, wishing Perrot could come out and play, too. Cooper waved Perrot's jersey to the fans and extended three fingers -- one for each of the Comets' championships -- toward the ceiling. "We really wanted to win this for Kim," said Cooper as she received her third straight WNBA Championship Series Most Valuable Player award. "This is in memory of Kim. This is in tribute to Kim." Memory? It's almost as if Perrot never left. As the music played, and the red, white and blue confetti rained down from the rafters Sunday, one would have had a hard time convincing any of the Comets that Perrot wasn't present.
Indeed, for all the amateur numerologists out there, the number three will figure prominently in most discussions about this latest title. Houston's "Big Three" -- Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson -- led the Comets to their third straight WNBA championship in this, the third year of the league's existence, by defeating the Liberty in Game 3 of the Finals. But forget about all those threes. This one was all about No. 10. "We have overcome the obstacles and all the things we were faced with all year," Thompson said. "So maybe this one will be a little more special because we won it for Kim. All the desire and passion and strength and toughness she brought to this team, we used it today."
The Comets needed every ounce of that inspiration Sunday, especially since the game began just 22 hours after their crushing loss in Game 2. That was when New York's Teresa Weatherspoon banked in an incredible running 52-foot shot that gave the Liberty a stunning one-point victory, forcing Sunday's winner-take-all Game 3. But big games are when the stars are supposed to step up, and the Comets' Big Three did just that, with Cooper, Swoopes and Thompson combining for 48 of the team's 59 points. It's easier to step up, though, when someone is giving you a boost, and Perrot seemed to be doing just that Sunday. "After we beat (the Los Angeles Sparks in the Western Conference finals), we said that Kim wasn't here physically but she was definitely here in spirit," Swoopes said. "She will always be a part of the Comets." Especially since the Comets do everything possible to make that certain.
In the Houston locker room, Perrot's cubicle is still set up, her nameplate above, as if she were about to stroll in the door, letting loose her mile-a-minute chatter to anyone willing to listen. "If you don't think the spirit of Kim Perrot is alive in the Comet world right now, you're dead wrong," said Comets coach Van Chancellor. "I thought all along that 12 Comets pulling together would be tough to beat, (and) she's still on this team. "Her inspiration ... I can't tell you what this team has gone through since we learned she was diagnosed with cancer." They've had to deal with plenty. Cooper had to deal with not only the death of Perrot, but also that of Cooper's mother, Mary Cobbs, who died of breast cancer a month after Perrot was diagnosed with her illness. And Comets center Monica Lamb is waging a similar battle, her mother also fighting cancer.
"This championship was the hard one because of everything going on," said Janeth Arcain. "It's been a very emotional season watching Kim fight her battle. We won this championship for her, and we know that she was watching us today. She's in the hearts of all the players and in the hearts of all the fans." That much was evident, given the number of Perrot jerseys worn by the fans Sunday, a salute to the overachiever who earned a place in the history books by quarterbacking the Comets to back-to-back WNBA titles. And now they have three. "After what this team has gone through," said Chancellor, seeming to fight the emotion of the moment, "I don't know of any group of players anywhere, any time, that deserves a championship any more than they do."
Many people will walk in and out of your life, But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart.
Anger is only one letter short of danger. If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; If he betrays you twice, it is your fault.
Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.
He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all.
Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
Friends, you and me.... You brought another friend.... And then there were 3.... We started our group.... Our circle of friends.... And like that circle.... There is no beginning or end....
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift.
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