From the moment she stepped on the court at Staples Center in a Los Angeles Sparks uniform, anyone from a basketball fan to analyst knew Candace Parker was special and destined for greatness.
From her first WNBA dunk to capturing her first WNBA championship, the 2008 first round pick experienced peaks and valleys throughout her career. From missed time due to the birth of her daughter Laila, to unfortunate injuries, Parker’s determination and strong will allowed her to guide to her team to multiple playoff appearances, and continue to contend championships.
Parker has balanced her career between being a superstar in LA, to motherhood, to appearing in multiple Adidas, Macy’s and Six Star Pro Nutrition commercials to name a few.
On Sunday afternoon against the Phoenix Mercury, Parker scored her 5,000th career point midway in the second quarter at the free throw line. One individual she credits from her development as a complete basketball player, is her late University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summit.
“Coach Summitt was instrumental in me as a player, but also as a person,” Parker said. “I think being able to have these milestones, but also being able to keep them in perspective. I reflect on what she’s taught me every day in the way that I parent my kid, in the way that I handle success, in the way that I handle failure, everything. So, she’s definitely a part of me. I take her with me everywhere, and I know she’s smiling down. She’ll smile a little bit, like a little side smile for the 5,000 points, but I know she’s was really smiling when we win the championship.”
A great day to witness history from a future hall of famer in Parker.