Candace Parker, a three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, announced her retirement

Candace Parker, a three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, revealed on Sunday that she will be retiring after a remarkable career spanning 16 seasons.

“The competitor in me always craves one more challenge, but the time has come,” Parker expressed in a heartfelt social media post. “Both my heart and body were aware of this decision, but I needed to allow my mind the necessary time to accept it.”

In November, Parker, 38, shared with The Associated Press her desire to continue playing for another season, provided she could fully recover from a foot injury that sidelined her last season. However, she emphasized her commitment to the game and her own integrity, ultimately deciding to retire before the Aces’ pursuit of a third consecutive title.

“I made a promise to myself that I would never cheat the game and that I would contribute to its improvement. My intention was never to make a big show or go on a victory tour. Instead, I wanted to quietly leave the court surrounded by my loved ones,” she expressed. “In what was supposed to be my final game, I walked off the court with my daughter. This journey ended just as it began, with her by my side.”

In her first 13 seasons in the league, Parker showcased her dominance with the Los Angeles Sparks. As a No. 1 pick, she made an immediate impact by winning both the Rookie of the Year and league MVP awards in the same season. Parker’s remarkable achievements made her the first-ever WNBA player to accomplish such a feat. During that season, she averaged an impressive 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists, while also playing a pivotal role in the Sparks’ 10-win improvement in 2008.

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In 2013, Parker secured her second MVP accolade and later clinched her first championship in 2016 alongside the Sparks. She continued her success by capturing her second title in 2021 as a member of the Chicago Sky, and then added a third championship to her resume with the Las Vegas Aces last season. Remarkably, Parker stands alone as the sole player in the history of the league to have won a championship with three different teams.

The Aces expressed their heartfelt appreciation for Candace Parker, acknowledging that her impact on women’s basketball will be everlasting. They praised her not only for her impressive achievements and statistics but also for the invaluable contributions she has made to the sport. The team emphasized her role as a teammate, mentor, mother, wife, baller, broadcaster, and businesswoman, highlighting how she has served as an inspiration for countless young individuals, regardless of gender, encouraging them to pursue and fulfill their aspirations.

Parker was a member of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team during the years 2007 and 2008, when they won back-to-back national championships under the coaching of the legendary Pat Summitt.

She achieved the remarkable feat of winning gold medals in both 2008 and 2012.

During her time as a professional basketball player, Parker also ventured into the broadcasting industry. She gained experience and expertise by taking on roles as an analyst for the NCAA Tournament with CBS Sports and NBA TV.

In July 2023, she underwent foot surgery, and she mentioned to the AP that she still experienced pain at the end of last year.

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“In her recent post on Sunday, she expressed her frustration with the ongoing foot injury that has made this offseason less enjoyable. However, she remains determined to follow the advice of the legendary Pat Summitt, who believed that pursuing one’s passions and connecting with others is the key to success. Despite the challenges, she remains committed to her role as a wife and mother, recognizing that time passes quickly and she wants to make the most of her precious moments with her family.”

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