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Candace Parker, 3-time WNBA champion and 2-time MVP, retiring after 16 seasons



Candace Parker, 3-time WNBA champion and 2-time MVP, retiring after 16 seasons

Candace Parker at all times stated she’d know when it could be time to retire. That day got here Sunday.

The three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist introduced on social media that her profession was over after 16 seasons.

“The competitor in me at all times desires 1 extra, however it’s time,” Parker wrote in an Instagram submit. “My HEART & physique knew, however I wanted to present my thoughts time to simply accept it.”

Parker, 38, had informed The Related Press in November she needed to play one other season if she may get wholesome from a foot damage that saved her off the courtroom final season. However she cautioned that she did not wish to “cheat the sport,” or herself, and expressed the identical in asserting her retirement forward of the Aces’ try to win a 3rd title in a row. Parker has had 10 surgical procedures over her profession.

“I promised I would by no means cheat the sport & that I would go away it in a greater place than I got here into it. … I at all times needed to stroll off the courtroom with no parade or tour, simply privately with those I really like,” she wrote. “What now was to be my final recreation, I walked off the courtroom with my daughter. I ended the journey simply as I began it, together with her.”

Parker performed her first 13 seasons within the league with the Los Angeles Sparks, establishing her dominance early as a No. 1 choose who received Rookie of the 12 months and league MVP in the identical season. Parker was the one WNBA participant to perform that feat, averaging 18.5 factors, 9.5 rebounds and three.4 assists whereas serving to the Sparks to a 10-win enchancment in 2008.

Parker earned her second MVP award in 2013 and received her first title in 2016 with the Sparks. She’d go on to win a second title with the Chicago Sky in 2021 and a 3rd with the Las Vegas Aces final season.

“It is robust, it is bittersweet for myself as a result of I’d have liked to have her with us this 12 months. Alternatively I do know precisely what it seems like when it is time, it is time. The physique tells you. It isn’t what your thoughts or your coronary heart is saying. It is your physique,” Aces coach Becky Hammon stated. “She modified the sport. She modified what it meant to be a positional basketball participant. She performed all positions. She’s the one if you discuss those who are actually enjoying and arising, they practiced Candace Parker’s strikes.”

She’s the one participant in league historical past to win a championship with three totally different groups.

“The recollections Candace Parker created for a era of ladies’s basketball followers will stay ingrained in our collective conscience ceaselessly, however she has given a lot extra to the sport past her accolades and statistics,” The Aces stated in an announcement. “As a teammate and mentor, a mom and spouse, a baller, broadcaster, and businesswoman she has impressed numerous younger individuals, each girls and boys, to chase and obtain their goals.”

Parker performed for the late Pat Summitt’s final two nationwide championship groups at Tennessee in 2007 and 2008. She then left with one 12 months of eligibility remaining.

2-time Olympic gold medallist

She received Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 earlier than shockingly being left off the 2016 staff.

“I feel clearly Candace has had a tremendous profession. I am a little bit bit unhappy about it since you love going up in opposition to her, the legend that she is,” Liberty star Breanna Stewart stated. “What she has accomplished on and off the courtroom has been superb for our league. Admire all she’s accomplished to assist me get to the place I’m. We’ll positively miss her this season.”

Liberty coach Sandy Brondello coached Parker abroad in Russia for a number of years throughout the winter.

“She’s a trailblazer. Only a fantastic human being and what she’s accomplished for this sport,” Brondello stated. ‘Hopefully it is celebrated. I’ve received loads of respect for her. Our youngsters grew up collectively after I was teaching in Russia. It is sort of unhappy. Everybody is aware of when it is the suitable time.”

Parker started working in broadcasting throughout her enjoying profession. She has labored as an analyst for the NCAA Event with CBS Sports activities and for NBA TV.

She had surgical procedure on her foot in July 2023 and informed the AP it nonetheless pained her on the finish of final 12 months.

“This low season hasn’t been enjoyable on a foot that is not cooperating,” she wrote in her submit Sunday. “My mission in life, like Pat Summitt at all times stated, is to `chase individuals and passions and you’ll by no means fail.’ Being a spouse & mother nonetheless stays precedence .1 & I’ve discovered that point flies, so I plan to take pleasure in my household to the fullest!”

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