A WNBA vet who has impacted the women’s game on so many levels. It seems as if Candace Parker has been the forgotten gem on the WNBA All-Time list. With everything she has accomplished in her 13 year career, it is safe for her to be recognized for the greatness she has given to the women’s game. As Parker now heads to Chicago, let’s look at some of her accomplishments in Los Angeles
Rookie MVP Season
Parker has made her presence known in the WNBA since her arrival in 2008. Coming out of Tennessee, Parker had high expectations to become a superstar phenomenon. And early in her career, she lived up to it. Parker had the golden opportunity to learn from teammates in Lisa Leslie and others on what it takes to become a valuable WNBA star.
Parker was able to win her first WNBA MVP award by averaging 18.5 points per game along with 9.5 rebounds. Early in the season, it was clear she was the best player on the roster. Head Coach Michael Cooper and the rest of the Sparks roster relied on Parker to carry the team on both ends on a nightly basis. Parker was able to lead the team to a 20–14 record and finish as the third seed in the Western Conference.
Second MVP Award
Parker would eventually win another MVP by averaging 18 points per game 8.7 rebounds. Parker has always been a player that takes pride in her craft by staying in attack mode. These two MVP seasons were just a representation of how versatile of a player and a leader she has been throughout her time in the WNBA.
WNBA Champion & Finals MVP
The lack of a WNBA Championship accolade sat heavy with Parker prior to the 2016 WNBA season. Going into the year, she had a different mindset and set the tone on a different manner. She became more of a leader than ever before and made plays that set up her team for success. Parker and the Sparks finished the season with a 26–8 record and coasted through the Chicago Sky to advance to the WNBA Finals.
This series is where we saw the best of Parker. Going up against a dominant team in the Minnesota Lynx, Parker relied on great teammates in Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver to help provide big contributions and take a lot of pressure off of her.
Parker made big plays throughout the entire Finals. Having the task of guarding sensational Sylvia Fowles, Parker was able to become the light of the show even with a lot on her load. The Sparks defeated the Lynx 3–2 in the WNBA Finals as Parker would receive Finals MVP for her tenacity on the floor.
As far as other accolades, Parker has been amongst the popular figures of the WNBA. She’s been to five WNBA All-Star games while also winning Defensive Player of the Year this past season. The ability to still able to play at a high level for her age seems to have Parker taken for granted. Since her debut in 2008, she has been a huge piece in keeping the Sparks afloat and the reason they make the playoffs year in and year out. Parker still has so much left in the tank and it will be exciting to watch going forward in the latter years of her career.
There was a reason why legendary Head Coach Pat Summitt always continued to challenge Parker during her time in Tennessee . There was a certain level of greatness that she had inside of her that everyone knew. As the 2021 WNBA season approaches, Parker will continue to be a star stellar performer who works hard and brings entertainment to the fans. Parker is a future Hall of Famer when her career is all said and done and there should be more respect on her name.