After beating the top-seeded Connecticut Sun on October 7, the Chicago Sky are heading to the WNBA Finals for the second time ever, and their charge to the Championship is being led by none other than WNBA veteran Candace Parker.
TheSky beat the Sun 79-69, with Parker standing out with 17 points scored, nine rebounds, and seven assists. This is a milestone shot at the Finals Championship for the center/forward, as she transitioned from what many would consider a full career with the Los Angeles Sparks to instead play with the WNBA team belonging to the city she was raised in for a chance at the ring.
PALMETTO, FLORIDA – AUGUST 31: Candace Parker #3 of the Los Angeles Sparks looks to pass the ball during the second half of a game against the Minnesota Lynx at Feld Entertainment Center on August 31, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
But why is Parker’s name ringing so many bells after last night’s big win? Click through to learn more about the baller beauty and why she’s a shoo-in for MVP.
She’s leading her hometown team to victory
Parker played for the LA Sparks for 13 of her 14 seasons as a WNBA player, but opted for a change of scenery once she became an unrestricted free agent in 2021. Now, with their October 7 victory over the Connecticut Sun placing them in the Finals, the Chicago-bred center is leading the charge for her hometown Chicago Sky to win their second-ever championship title. Plus, she gets to work closer to home.
“Chicago is where my family raised me; where I first learned the game of basketball; and where I first fell in love with this orange ball,” she told The Chicago Tribune of her decision to join her hometown Sky this season. “I am excited to continue the next chapter of my career where it all began.”
She’s building up women’s sports for the next generation
An already accomplished athlete in her high school years, Parker is an advocate women’s sports, having spoken at ESPN’s Women in Sports Summit. She’s also become a founding member of LA’s upcoming NWSL league, the Angel City Football Club, in October 2020. To top it all off, she named her 12-year-old daughter Lailaa Nicole her co-investor. Talk about generational wealth!
She’s been the MVP since her rookie year
Parker has garnered a slew of accolades in her 13 years on the court, including multiple Team USA Gold Medals and FIBA World Championships. But this has been the norm for Parker, named Rookie of the Year and WNBA MVP in her first season with the Sparks in 2008. Since then, she’s been granted the WNBA MVP title again in 2013, named All-Star Game MVP in 2013, and WNBA Finals MVP in 2016. Just toss another one on the stack, at this point.
She’s a slam dunk anomaly
Though near-synonymous with basketball in America, slam dunking isn’t something quite so commonly done in the WNBA. However, On June 22, 2008, Parker became the second woman in WNBA history to slam a dunk during an official WNBA match. Her teammate Lisa Leslie was the first.
Just to really drive the point home, she made sure she was the first woman to do it twice two days later, dunking during a regulation matchup between the LA Spark and the Seattle Storm.
She’s a pioneer in many areas of WNBA recognition
Unsurprisingly, Parker is considered one of the best to ever play the game, regardless of gender. Yet and still, she’s the first woman to hit many milestones that male players with half her accolades would be easily given. Just this year alone, she became the first woman to ever be placed on the cover of the NBA 2K video game, and only the third woman to grace the cover of SLAM Magazine, a staple publication for NBA enthusiasts.
She’s got the presidential seal of approval
How many players can really say they’ve got Barack’s backing? Everyone’s favorite Forever President sent Parker his own set of congratulations after last night’s big win solidifying the Sky’s slot in the Finals.
“It’s always good to be from Chicago, but this year is especially sweet,” he Tweeted. “Congratulations to the @ChicagoSky for making it to the WNBA finals, and to the legend, @Candace_Parker, for making all of us proud. We’ll be rooting for you.”