One of the most accomplished Chicago-area athletes of all time is coming home.
Candace Parker, a two-time WNBA most valuable player and five-time all star, signed a contract to join the Chicago Sky starting next season after playing the last 13 years with the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Chicago is where my family raised me, where I first learned the game of basketball, and where I first fell in love with this orange ball,” Parker said. “I am excited to continue the next chapter of my career where it all began. To my new teammates, my new organization, and my new fans: I’m home.”
Parker, 34, grew up in west suburban Naperville, where the outdoor park district court where she practiced as a kid is named for her. She attended the University of Tennessee and was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the WNBA in 2008. Since then, she’s proven herself as a standout scorer and passer and one of the league’s best defenders and rebounders while piling up a mountain of awards.
Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, league MVP, finals MVP. Parker’s won them all. She also earned Olympic gold medals as a member of the U.S. women’s basketball teams in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
“It’s indescribable to put into words what this moment means to our organization and to the city of Chicago,” Sky general manager and head coach James Wade said. “It’s an incredible story of a homecoming between a team striving to become a championship organization and one of the best players in basketball. Candace is someone who has meant so much to the game – and not just in L.A. and Chicago — her stature is truly unmatched.”
Parker is an inspiration off the court as well. In September, she became the first female Board member for the Social Change Fund. The organization was created by philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and former Chicago Bull Dwyane Wade to address issues affecting the Black community.
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