While the star-studded ESPYs were taking place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Parker was helping the Los Angeles Sparks remain unbeaten at home with a 77-73 victory over the Atlanta Dream at the Staples Center.
Parker was named Best WNBA Player, beating out former UT star Tamika Catchings of Indiana, Tina Charles of Connecticut, Angel McCoughtry of Atlanta and Lindsay Whalen of Minnesota.
It was Parker’s second ESPY in that category — she won it in 2009 — and her fourth overall. She was named Best Female Athlete and Best Female College Athlete in 2008 following her final season with the Lady Vols.
The Sparks (11-4) won their six straight overall and improved to 9-0 at home. Los Angeles extended its regular-season home winning streak to 19.
Parker had one of her worst scoring games this season with six points on 2-for-10 shooting. But she grabbed 10 rebounds, made a key block with 1:43 remaining and grabbed a rebound off McCoughtry’s miss with less than a minute left.
Meanwhile, incoming Tennessee freshman Mercedes Russell was at the ESPYs for the first time. As winner of the Gatorade National Female High School Basketball Player of the Year award, the 6-foot-5 post player from Springfield, Ore., was a finalist for the national female athlete of year award that was announced on Tuesday night.
Soccer player Morgan Andrews of Milford, N.H., was named winner, but all female and male finalists attended the ESPYs and walked the red carpet.