Class of 2021
Candace Parker

Candace Parker grew up in Naperville, IL, with a family who loved the game of basketball. Her father, Larry, played at the University of Iowa, and her older brother, Anthony, played in the NBA. As a youth, she was mostly focused on playing soccer, and it wasn’t until eighth grade that her family convinced her to play basketball. In 2008, after stunning career performances at Chicago’s west suburban Naperville Central High School and the University of Tennessee, Candace was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA Draft. The draft followed a champion collegiate career where she played for legendary coach Pat Summit and led the Tennessee Lady Vols to consecutive NCAA championships in 2007 and 2008. In her first pro season with the Sparks, Candace became the first player to earn WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season and was named Finals MVP after leading the Sparks to the 2016 WNBA title. After 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, Parker signed with her hometown team, the Chicago Sky, in 2020. Throughout her career, Parker has built an outstanding list of honors, which includes three WNBA All-Star nods, the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game MVP Award, six All-WNBA selections, and the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Candace also led Team USA to gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. As one of the most decorated women’s basketball players of all time, Candace Parker has already solidified herself as one of the most influential athletes of her generation. Both on and off the court, Candace has continued to build a legacy that she hopes will inspire others to break through glass ceilings as she has. Candace has a love for media off the court. She serves as the lone female sports analyst and commentator for Turner Sports, and she recently launched the first season of her podcast, “Moments with Candace Parker.” Produced in partnership with Wonder Media Network and Robin Roberts, “Moments” celebrates parenthood to the fullest—the smallest victories, the messiest failures, and the bravest decisions. Each week, Candace chats with friends you might recognize about stories you’ve never heard before. The podcast launched on August 10, 2021, on all podcast platforms to tons of fan love.

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