Fans crowd Michigan Avenue, Pritzker Pavilion celebrating the Chicago Sky’s WNBA championship

By Olivia Cohen and Abra Richardson

Chicagoans celebrated as Chi-Town transformed into “Sky Town” after the Chicago Sky’s first WNBA championship.

Fans gathered for the parade down Michigan Avenue, starting from the Wintrust Arena at 200 E. Cermak Road, the Chicago Sky’s home court, traveling north to Pritzker Pavilion at 201 E. Randolph St. on Monday. At the Pavilion, paradegoers celebrated the win by dancing to drum lines, listening to numerous guest speakers and cheering for the players onstage.

“I remember watching the Chicago Bulls parade and dreaming of that moment,” said Chicago Sky star player and Naperville native Candace Parker.

Fans of every background filled the Pavilion’s outdoor seating, from Chicago residents who have waited years to see this day to college students.

Parker Callias, a junior theatre directing major, is one of the college students who attended the parade on Tuesday and said they now consider themself a loyal Chicago Sky fan.

“I watch a lot of basketball, and I’m from Portland, Oregon, but I’m not used to any team I’ve ever rooted for winning, so this was very exciting,” Callias said. “After watching this season, the Chicago Sky has another fan for life.”

Callias said while they weren’t able to attend any games this year, they followed the team closely, watching almost every Sky game from home, but they wanted to celebrate the team’s championship in person.

Angela Lorenzo, the digital communications coordinator at the Chicago Foundation for Women, was urged to attend the celebration by the organization’s CEO, Felicia Davis.

“Our CEO told us that we should celebrate this historic moment and encouraged us to, although we’re all busy, to take a moment to join the city and celebrate this amazing event,” Lorenzo said.

Many household Chicago names were on stage at the Pavilion to celebrate and talk about the team’s successes, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“They are tremendous players, every single one of them fighting hard,” Lightfoot said. “That’s a lesson for all of us: If you work hard and come together as a team, you can get [anything] done. … I could not be more proud of these women, not only for what they do on the court but off the court. … They are tremendous leaders.”

Other speakers included one of the co-owners of Chicago Sky, Michael Alter; Chicago Sky head coach James Wade; President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle; plus an appearance from Chicago native Chance the Rapper.

When Wade took over the microphone to speak, he reminded the crowd that the team did not win by luck, but through its commitment to the sport and chemistry as a team.

“We had expectations for ourselves,” Wade said. “We spent the last two seasons getting eliminated in the second round, then the first round. What happened after that was because of the players on our team.”