All-Star Analysts

Candace Parker’s legendary homecoming

Published October 24, 2021, 5:00 PMBea Daez-Fabros
Bea Daez-Fabros

Candace Parker continues to grow her legend, adding another WNBA championship – this time for her home city of Chicago – to her impressive sports credentials.

After playing 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, Candace Parker decided early this year that it was time to come home to Chicago.

Parker immediately became a homecoming legend after leading the Sky to their first-ever WNBA title – on her first try. 

The Sky have a point goddess in Courtney Vandersloot, one of the best shooters in the league in Allie Quigley, plus an athletic and tenacious rim finisher in Kahleah Copper.

Then here comes CP, one of the most versatile two-way players, bringing in her exceptional leadership, veteran smarts, and championship experience. 

As it turned out, Parker was Chicago’s missing piece.

Championship season 

With the acquisition of Parker, the new-look Sky easily became a title contender coming into the season. No matter how good their roster looked on paper though, winning did not come easy throughout the season. 

It was a bumpy road to the finish line for Parker and the Sky. Their backs were against the wall multiple times, with Parker going down with an ankle injury in their opening game, rounding up sixth in the regular season, and having to go through two knock-out games before advancing to the semifinals against the league’s top-seeded team, the Connecticut Sun. 

Fast forward to Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, the Sky even faced a 14-point deficit in the second half. It was another roadblock, but yet again, they found a way to bounce back, peaking at the perfect time during the postseason to emerge as champions. 

“I think sometimes you don’t have to tell your story. Time will. I think that’s something I’ve lived by,” Parker explained after winning her second  title in the WNBA. “Just put your head down, continue to work. Work hard, give energy and the world will give back to you.” 

True to the “Kobeism” that Vanessa Bryant shared with Parker in the morning of the title-clincher, Parker played Gigi’s way and finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and an all-important 3 that tied the game with two minutes left. The Sky continued to pounce until they secured the coveted trophy.

Hailing from Naperville, Illinois, winning a championship for her home city further cemented Parker’s legacy as one of the best basketball players to play the game. 

Parker has earned a long list of achievements throughout her career. She’s a two-time WNBA MVP, six-time All-Star, 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, 2008 Rookie of the Year, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time NCAA champion, to name a few. 

Add two-time WNBA champion to the list – one won at 35 years old in her first season with a new team. 

Sports trailblazer

Parker is one of the most successful and influential sports icons today, a trailblazer on and off the court. She is a basketball analyst for the NBA and the NCAA. She’s also a part-owner of Angels City FC, Los Angeles’ National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team, and just this year, she became the first woman to grace the cover of NBA 2K. 

Now, she has come full circle as Chicago’s hometown hero, bringing the first-ever W title to the Windy City. On top of this, and most important of all, she is a mother to Lailaa.

"I owe everything I am to her, just because she's been my motivation and my reason for everything," Parker said about her 12-year-old daughter. "We've gone through this together, you know? She sacrifices her mom so that I can live my dream. I just am so thankful for her, that she's here for the big moments, but she's also here when I don't want to get up and go work out."

There is no stopping CP from achieving more milestones. Some may think she is close to the end of her playing career, but I definitely think otherwise.

At the rate Candace Parker is playing today, the Sky might just have a chance to go back-to-back next season.

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