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Candace Parker, WNBA champion and MVP, announces retirement



Candace Parker, WNBA champion and MVP, announces retirement

Candace Parker all the time stated she’d know when it might be time to retire. That day got here Sunday.

The three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist introduced on social media that her profession was over after 16 seasons.

“The competitor in me all the time desires 1 extra, nevertheless it’s time,” Parker wrote in an Instagram submit. “My HEART & physique knew, however I wanted to present my thoughts time to just accept it.”

Parker, 38, had advised The Related Press in November she wished to play one other season if she might get wholesome from a foot harm that saved her off the court docket final season. However she cautioned that she didn’t need to “cheat the sport,” or herself, and expressed the identical in asserting her retirement forward of the Aces’ try and win a 3rd title in a row. Parker has had 10 surgical procedures over her profession.

“I promised I’d by no means cheat the sport & that I’d go away it in a greater place than I got here into it. … I all the time wished to stroll off the court docket with no parade or tour, simply privately with those I really like,” she wrote. “What now was to be my final sport, I walked off the court docket with my daughter. I ended the journey simply as I began it, together with her.”

Parker performed her first 13 seasons within the league with the Los Angeles Sparks, establishing her dominance early as a No. 1 decide who gained Rookie of the Yr and league MVP in the identical season. Parker was the one WNBA participant to perform that feat, averaging 18.5 factors, 9.5 rebounds and three.4 assists whereas serving to the Sparks to a 10-win enchancment in 2008.

Parker earned her second MVP award in 2013 and gained her first title in 2016 with the Sparks. She’d go on to win a second title with the Chicago Sky in 2021 and a 3rd with the Las Vegas Aces final season.

“It’s powerful, it’s bittersweet for myself as a result of I’d have cherished to have her with us this yr. Then again I do know precisely what it looks like when it’s time, it’s time. The physique tells you. It’s not what your thoughts or your coronary heart is saying. It’s your physique,” Aces coach Becky Hammon stated. “She modified the sport. She modified what it meant to be a positional basketball participant. She performed all positions. She’s the one whenever you discuss people who are actually taking part in and arising, they practiced Candace Parker’s strikes.”

She’s the one participant in league historical past to win a championship with three completely different groups.

“The reminiscences Candace Parker created for a technology of ladies’s basketball followers will stay ingrained in our collective conscience without end, however she has given a lot extra to the sport past her accolades and statistics,” the Aces stated in a press release. “As a teammate and mentor, a mom and spouse, a baller, broadcaster, and businesswoman she has impressed numerous younger folks, each girls and boys, to chase and obtain their goals.”

Parker performed for the late Pat Summitt’s final two nationwide championship groups at Tennessee in 2007 and 2008. She then left with one yr of eligibility remaining.

She gained Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 earlier than shockingly being left off the 2016 staff.

“I believe clearly Candace has had a tremendous profession. I’m somewhat bit unhappy about it since you love going up towards her, the legend that she is,” Liberty star Breanna Stewart stated. “What she has finished on and off the court docket has been superb for our league. Recognize all she’s finished to assist me get to the place I’m. We’ll undoubtedly miss her this season.”

Liberty coach Sandy Brondello coached Parker abroad in Russia for just a few years in the course of the winter.

“She’s a trailblazer. Only a fantastic human being and what she’s finished for this sport,” Brondello stated. “Hopefully it’s celebrated. I’ve obtained lots of respect for her. Our children grew up collectively once I was teaching in Russia. It’s type of unhappy. Everybody is aware of when it’s the best time.”

Parker started working in broadcasting throughout her taking part in profession. She has labored as an analyst for the NCAA Event with CBS Sports activities and for NBA TV.

She had surgical procedure on her foot in July 2023 and advised the AP it nonetheless pained her on the finish of final yr.

“This offseason hasn’t been enjoyable on a foot that isn’t cooperating,” she wrote in her submit Sunday. “My mission in life, like Pat Summitt all the time stated, is to ‘chase folks and passions and you’ll by no means fail.’ Being a spouse & mother nonetheless stays precedence #1 & I’ve realized that point flies, so I plan to take pleasure in my household to the fullest!”


AP Sports activities Author Ryan Kryska in Hoboken, New Jersey, contributed to this report.



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