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Lisa Leslie on Gillom being fired, Bryant being promoted [Video]

July 14, 2011 |  2:52 pm

Former Sparks star Lisa Leslie says she was not surprised by the team's recent decision to fire Coach Jennifer Gillom and promote assistant Joe Bryant

"The Sparks have always been like the Lakers," Leslie said Wednesday during a red-carpet interview at the ESPY Awards show. "Our goal is to win and when you're not winning, they usually make changes."

That Sparks announced the coaching change Sunday after the team had lost five games in a row, three of which were played without 2008 MVP Candace Parker, who is expected to miss six weeks after sustaining a torn lateral meniscus in her right knee on June 26. 

"You always have to keep in mind that when you lose a player like Candace Parker, it's tough for any coach," Leslie said. 

In his first game at the helm on Tuesday, Bryant helped lead the Sparks past the San Antonio Silver Stars, 84-74, snapping their worst losing streak since 2007. The Sparks had lost to the Silver Stars with Parker, 90-80, on June 24.

Leslie said she believes that Bryant will be a good fit with the team. 

"I think the ladies will relate to him," she said. "He's very passionate about what he wants and specific, so I think that they can only go up."

When asked if the coaching change was the right move, Leslie said she wasn't not sure.  

"I'm not in the locker room anymore," she said. "I'm not around the team enough to see."

The Sparks, who are in fifth place in the six-team Western Conference, close a seven-game road trip Friday against last-place Tulsa before returning home to Staples Center on Sunday to play Washington, which is in the cellar of the Eastern Conference. 

-- Melissa Rohlin

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