When your older sibling is a famous athlete, it can be tough to live in his shadow. But Candace Parker didn’t let her brother Anthony Parker’s career get in the way of her spotlight. The WNBA player came onto the scene with a bang and hasn’t slowed down since.
Candace Parker got her start as a redshirt freshman for the Lady Vols of the University of Tennessee. To everyone’s shock, she nearly instantly became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game. Not long after that, she beat her own record–she became the first woman to dunk twice in an NCAA tournament game.
Obviously, that was the start of a great career with the Lady Vols. Her success set her up to be the first pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, where she got snatched up by the Los Angeles Sparks. Her debut year in the WNBA was a big one. She wound up getting named both Rookie of the Year and MVP, one of the only players to get both awards for the same season.
Candace Parker has been playing for the Los Angeles Sparks ever since. She took a brief break after giving birth to her daughter in 2009, but has otherwise been breaking barriers left and right.
Here are a few of Candace Parker’s career highlights:
- Parker helped lead the Sparks to a win over the Minnesota Lynx for the 2016 WNBA Championship.
- She’s been named to the All-WNBA First Team an incredible four times, and on the Second Team twice.
- She’s a three time WNBA All-Star and the 2013 WNBA All-Star MVP.
- Parker played for the USA Women’s U18 team, which won a gold medal in Puerto Rico. When she was older, she played for Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics, winning another gold medal.
Obviously, the stellar athlete has become a fan favorite and has made a splash outside sports as well. In 2009, she won the Teen Choice Award for favorite female athlete. She’s also guest starred on Nickelodeon programs like Figure It Out and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn.
Candace Parker will kick off the 2017 WNBA season on May 13, 2017.