WNBA legend Candace Parker announces retirement from basketball

Parker won titles with all three WNBA teams she played for, and also won back-to-back national titles at the collegiate level

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WNBA legend Candace Parker has announced her retirement following a wildly successful career full of individual accolades and team championships in virtually every stop she made.

Parker, a three-time champion in the WNBA and a two-time NCAA champion, announced her retirement via an Instagram post after 16 seasons in the league.

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

Parker was born in St. Louis but attended high school at Illinois’ Naperville Central, earning McDonald’s All-American honors and capturing consecutive National Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors.

She helped lead Tennessee to consecutive national titles in 2007 and 2008, earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors on both occasions for Pat Summit’s squad.

Parker was then the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, and made an immediate impact as she earned MVP honors in her debut season.

Parker won the 2016 WNBA title with the Sparks, then signed a contract with her hometown Chicago Sky for the 2021 campaign. She helped lead the Sky to their first title in franchise history that season, averaging 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and four assists per game in helping the club to a title.

Her final season in Las Vegas was impacted by injuries, with nine points and 5.4 rebounds per game as the Aces captured their second straight title and the third of Parker’s career.

The Aces paid tribute to Parker after her announcement.

“The Las Vegas Aces family is thankful for the role Candace played in the 2023 WNBA championship season, and for giving all of us the opportunity to watch one of the GOATs of the game over the past two decades,” the team said.

Parker said that a nagging foot injury contributed to her decision to step away from the game.

“This offseason hasn’t been fun on a foot that isn’t cooperating. It’s no fun playing in pain. It’s no fun knowing what you could do, if only…it’s no fun hearing ‘she isn’t the same’ when I know why, it’s no fun accepting the fact you need surgery again,” she said.

She also said that she never envisioned herself taking a “farewell tour,” and that she intended on going out on her own terms.

“I always wanted to walk off the court with no parade or tour, just privately with the ones I love. What now was to be my last game, I walked off the court with my daughter. I ended the journey just as I started it, with her,” she said.

Parker promised to embark on a variety of projects in her post-playing career, including pursuing ownership stakes in NBA and WNBA franchises and continuing her work at Turner Sports, where she serves as an analyst on NBA games and during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

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