A look back at Candace Parker’s legendary WNBA career as she takes new job with Adidas following retirement

Abu Mubarik May 10, 2024
Candace Parker. Photo credit: adidas

Get to know Candace Parker; she is a WNBA legend who spent 16 years in the league with the Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky, and Las Vegas Aces. On April 28, 2024, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA draft retired from the league after becoming a three-time WNBA champion.

“I promised I’d never cheat the game & that I’d leave it in a better place than I came into it,” Parker said on Instagram. “The competitor in me always wants 1 more, but it’s time. My HEART & body knew, but I needed to give my mind time to accept it.

“This offseason hasn’t been fun on a foot that isn’t cooperating. It’s no fun playing in pain (10 surgeries in my career) it’s no fun knowing what you could do, if only…it’s no fun hearing ‘she isn’t the same’ when I know why, it’s no fun accepting the fact you need surgery AGAIN.”

Parker retired as a two-time WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist. Additionally, the league named Parker to its Top 20 at 20 and W25 teams, a compilation of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history.

At the peak of her career, Parker was a 10-time All-WNBA honoree and seven-time WNBA All-Star. In her first year in the league, she was named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season in 2008, making her the first player to achieve such a feat.

She also led the Sparks to 11 playoff appearances in her 13 seasons with the franchise. She eventually won the WNBA championship in 2016. The Chicago native would return to her hometown as a free agent and sign for the Sky. She subsequently led the team to its first-ever WNBA championship in the first of two seasons with the franchise.

She left Sky to join the Aces, where she helped the team to a 16-2 record before suffering a foot injury that kept her out of the championship-winning season.

“The dunks. The dimes. The boards. The blocks. The smile. The swagger. The memories Candace Parker created for a generation of women’s basketball fans will remain ingrained in our collective conscience forever, but she has given so much more to the game beyond her accolades and statistics,” the Aces said in a statement.

“Although the majority of her career was played in opposing uniforms, we were blessed to have her as part of our championship team a year ago. We are saddened that she won’t be a part of our three-peat aspirations, but we look forward to welcoming Candace back to Las Vegas as an Aces alum, and we can’t wait to see what the next chapter in her life has to offer.”

No sooner had Parker announced her retirement from the WNBA than she was appointed as the new president of Adidas Women’s Basketball.

She told Fast Company that in her new position, she would oversee “pretty much everything”, including helping the brand with new product development, deciding which athletes to add to the roster, and assisting in developing grassroots growth strategies.

“Stepping into this new leadership role is a deeply personal next step in my journey with adidas,” said wife and mother Parker. “From high school to college to playing pro to now, this appointment by adidas symbolizes a shared commitment to making impactful change and setting new benchmarks for the future of women’s sports. It’s not just about products; it’s about fostering a movement focused on innovation, representation, and access.”

Broadcaster and entrepreneur Parker will also look at addressing the lack of investment in women’s sports. “Women’s sports receive less than 1% of all sponsorship dollars,” WNBA reporter Khristina Williams told Fast Company. “Brands are hesitant when it comes to investing in women’s sports, even though the numbers prove that it’s growing at an all-time rate and that fans are avid consumers when it comes to buying products.” 

Parker, who fell in love with basketball at the age of 13, led the Tennessee Lady Vols to two NCAA national championship titles during her collegiate career. She was the first woman to receive a signature shoe with Adidas, the ACE Commander sneaker, in 2010. Now the company is hoping that Parker will influence the company’s strategy overall for women.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 10, 2024


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