Candace Parker is an American professional basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She has also played on the Russian Women’s Basketball Premiere League and the EuroLeague Women.
Over her professional career, Parker has won several awards including being named a WNBA MVP for two years. She has also played for the United States in the Olympics, twice. She won the gold both times.
Candace was born Candace Nicole Parker on April 19, 1986. Her parents Larry and Sara were living in St. Louis, Missouri at the time.
Her dad played basketball in college when he attended the University of Iowa. Candace started playing basketball at a young age. Her older brother Antony Parker is also a professional basketball player. He plays for the National Basketball Association. The family was fans of the Chicago Bulls.
Candace’s favorite all-time player is Ron Harper.
Candace didn’t initially pursue basketball because she feared she would not live up to the levels her dad and her brother set. She was eventually convinced to start playing when she was in 8th grade.
High School Career
Parker attended the Naperville Central High School. While on the high school basketball team, Parker was instrumental in the team winning the 2003 and 2004 Class AA state titles.
In the same two years, she was named by USA Today as the High School Player of the Year. She also won the Naismith Prep Player of the Year award and the Gatorade Female Basketball Player of the Year Award. In 2004, she was further awarded the Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year Award.
During her senior year, she announced that she had signed up to attended and play for the University of Tennessee.
Parker redshirted her first year with the Tennessee Lady Volts. She started during the 2005-2006 season. In a March 2006 NCAA game, she became the first woman in the history of the NCAA to dunk in a tournament game.
While in college, she was named to the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women.
She was also named the 2007 SEC Player of the Year.
In 2008, she announced that she would forgo her eligibility for her final season at Tennessee to focus on training for the 2008 Olympics. She would go on to be a part of the team to win Gold in Beijing.
Los Angeles Sparks
Parker was drafted into the WNBA during the 2008 WNBA Draft. She was the first pick of the Los Angeles Sparks. She debuted with them on May 17, 2008, in a game against Phoenix Mercury. She scored 34 points in her debut game, a new record for the WNBA.