Naperville native Candace Parker announces her retirement from basketball

Candace Parker returns to Naperville a few months before announcing her retirement
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After three WNBA championships, two league MVP’s and 16 seasons of professional basketball, Naperville native Candace Parker announced her retirement from the game.

Parker steps away following a Hall of Fame worthy career

In a post on her Instagram page, Parker let the world know of her plans to step away from competitive basketball.

“I promised I’d never cheat the game and that I’d leave it in a better place than I came into it,” Parker explained in her post. ” The competitor in me always wants 1 more, but it’s time. My HEART and body knew, but I needed to give my mind time to accept it.”

Parker’s final season finished with her third WNBA championship as a member of the Las Vegas Aces. However, the former Naperville Central star missed the second half of the season with a foot injury. Parker admitted that the injury was not healing as she had hoped, which played into her decision to retire.

After being selected first overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008, Parker became the first player in WNBA history to be named the Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player in the same season. She won her second MVP in 2013 and her first WNBA title with the Sparks in 2016. After 13 seasons with the Sparks, Parker decided to return to her home state to play for the Chicago Sky. In her inaugural season in Chicago she won her second WNBA championship, helping the Sky win their first title in franchise history.

At the time of her retirement, Candace Parker averaged 16 points per game, 8.5 rebounds and four assists in over 400 career games.

Parker burst onto the national scene as a high school standout

Parker became a national phenomenon during her time playing for Naperville Central High School, where she became well known for her dominant play and ability to dunk, a rarity in the high school girls game at the time. She won back to back IHSA championships with the Redhawks in 2003 and 2004 and the team had a record of 59-0 in games that Parker played during her junior and senior seasons. She recently returned home to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of those championship teams with her former coaches and teammates.

She then went on to an All-American career under legendary head coach Pat Summit at the University of Tennessee. Parker also won a pair of National Championships with the Volunteers in 2007 and 2008 before moving on the WNBA. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping Team USA finish in first place at 2008 and 2012 Olympic games.

A busy career beyond the basketball court

Parker is already well prepared for her post-playing career. She has spent the past several years as a commenter with Turner Sports for both the NBA and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. This also allows her to spend more time with her wife and two children. She has also appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy and ESPN produced a documentary titled “Candace Parker: Unapologetic” about her life in basketball this past fall.