Los Angeles Sparks, Brittney Sykes explains how ACL tears saved her career.

Los Angeles Sparks, Brittney Sykes explains how ACL tears saved her career.

Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes has had some ups and downs in her career, but the trials and tribulations haven’t halted her performance. They’ve helped Sykes improve to become a great player in WNBA.

Sykes was drafted seventh overall in 2017 by the Atlanta Dream, where she received the nickname “Slim” by former head coach Michael Cooper.

“He gave it to me in training camp ’cause I had on all black leggings. He was like, ‘God dammit, slim. You just slim. You would wear black when you that skinny” Sykes explained.

Before arriving at the Dream, Slim was hit with her first significant battle her freshman year at Syracuse when she tore her ACL. For most athletes, that’s when fear and anger kick in, but for Sykes, it was a realization.

“I’m a freshman; I’m starting all these things. And boom, I get hit with my first ACL tear. I’m like, OK, I need to take basketball seriously,” Sykes said.

Sykes worked on coming back from her injury by going to rehab twice a day. She continued to work, but the second battle looked just like the first when Sykes tore her ACL again.

“Once that second one happened, I’m like, you need to sit down. You need to get more in tune. Talk to a therapist. That second one definitely saved my career because there were definitely some things I was missing,” Sykes explained.

Sykes worked on herself mentally and physically to improve not only as a player but as a person.

Her efforts are showcased in her game today; the two-time WNBA All-defensive teams player and 2021 steals leader is currently leading the WNBA in steals with 2.1 per game while averaging 10.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in 18 games for the Sparks.

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