Apr 28, 2024 - News

WNBA legend and former Chicago Sky champ Candace Parker announces retirement

Photo of a basketball player celebrating

Candace Parker celebrates after winning the WNBA championship in 2021. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

WNBA legend and Naperville native Candace Parker announced Sunday she's retiring from the league after 16 seasons.

Why it matters: Considered one of the greatest to play the game, Parker led the Sky to their first and only championship in 2021, helping to ignite well-deserved excitement for the team.

Catch up quick: Parker played for Naperville Central from 2001-2004 and was twice selected as the best high school player in the nation.

  • She went on to play for legendary coach Pat Summit at the University of Tennessee, leading them to two consecutive national championships.
  • Parker was drafted No. 1 by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008 and played 13 seasons with the team.

Flashback: Parker playing for the Sky in 2021 was a Chicago sports hometown hero story that dominated headlines, and the city made Sept. 16 "Candace Parker Day."

  • She left last year to play for Las Vegas Aces.

By the numbers: The 6-foot-4 forward is a three-time WNBA champion.

  • She's the first player in the league to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in one season.
  • Parker is a two-time gold medalist with Team USA.

What they're saying: "I fell in love with a little orange ball at 13 years old and BECAUSE of it my world goes 'round," Parker posted in her retirement announcement on her Instagram. "The highs are unmatched & the lows taught me lessons. On & off the court I'm proud I've always been true & stayed true to ME, even when it wasn't popular."

  • Her most recent team, the Aces, paid tribute to Parker's career in a statement: "As a teammate and mentor, a mother and wife, a baller, broadcaster and businesswoman, she has inspired countless young people, both boys and girls, to chase and achieve their dreams.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found

Chicagopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more