WNBA superstar Candace Parker has been a dominant force for the Los Angeles Sparks since she was drafted in 2008. Her athleticism and court power have helped her become one of the most recognized players in WNBA history.
You know the record-setting, slam-dunking legend, but do you know Candace? Here she is, in all her glory.
"In her very first WNBA All-Star appearance, with a record 23 points and a double-double, the MVP goes to Candace Parker." —Laurel Richie, WNBA President
As the 2013 WNBA All-Star MVP, Parker turned in a performance that was downright dangerous. Missed the game? That's OK. The video below backs it up, then slows it down for your viewing pleasure. Watch Parker's All-Star game highlights through the lens of this phantom cam:
"My off-season training goals are to get faster and stronger, like they are every off-season."
Parker had some fun showing off her guns at the All-Star game, but don't let that fool you. In the off-season, she focuses on core strength, lower-body power and flexibility to enhance the jumping aspect of her game.
"There're not many females that go and play pick-up [basketball] with guys. So initially, I would go and get picked last. Then they kinda figured out I could play a little bit."
Parker can do more than "play a little bit." See how she stacks up against some NBA greats:
- At 6'4", Candace is the same height as Dwyane Wade
- Her 18 points-per-game average matches Blake Griffin's 2013 output
- She averages the same number of rebounds per game (9) as LaMarcus Aldridge
- Her player efficiency rating of 22.45 matches that of Stephen Curry
- Her free-throw percentage (.800) equals that of Russell Westbrook
- Her blocks-per-game average (2.1) matches that of Joakim Noah
[Note: These numbers compare Parker's current 2013 stats with the NBA players' 2012-13 season stats.]
Did she just call out Kobe?
Parker can definitely hang with the big dogs on the basketball court, but is she ready to go one-on-one against NBA legend Kobe Bryant? She says yes. Here's her full response:
Let's not forget her shoes.
Check out the adidas adizero Crazy Light 3-Candace Parker PE
"My biggest concern about coming overseas [to play basketball] was the sacrifice that my family was making, mainly my daughter."
From January to May, during the WNBA off-season, Parker doesn't lounge around SoCal. Instead, she takes her All-Star skills, and her daughter Lailaa, across the world to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg franchise in Russia. Separated from her husband, Sheldon Williams—a former NBA player who now plays for Élan Chalon in Chalon-Sur-Sôane, France—Parker manages to gracefully raise Lailaa in a foreign country by herself. "I'm very proud of Candace for being an accomplished basketball player and mother," says Williams. " I don't know too many women who can balance those two things. She's been amazing to watch."
Tag along with the mother-daughter team on a typical day in Russia with this all-access footage:
She even gets the Gus Johnson treatment.
Only the most talented players can rouse famed sportscaster Gus Johnson into an excited frenzy. But with dunking skills like these, Parker has earned the classic Gus Johnson reaction.
What's she jamming to? Jay-Z.
Hov is genius..... #magnacartaholygrail
— Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker) June 19, 2013
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock