Candace Nicole Parker (born April 19, 1986) is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She was the first overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. In 2016, along with other stars such as Alana Beard and Nneka Ogwumike, Parker helped the Sparks to win their first WNBA Finals title since 2002. In high school, Parker won the 2003 and 2004 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year awards, becoming just the second junior and the only woman to receive the award twice.
A versatile player, Parker mainly plays the forward position. In college she was listed on Tennessee’s roster as a forward, center and guard. Parker was the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game and the first woman to dunk twice in a college game. She set both milestones as a redshirt freshman on March 19, 2006. Parker became the second player to dunk in a WNBA game on June 22, 2008. Prior to her first WNBA game, Parker had signed long-term endorsement deals with Adidas and Gatorade. In leading the Lady Vols to two consecutive national championships, Parker was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player in both occasions, and was a two-time consensus national player of the year.
Parker has won a WNBA championship (2016), two WNBA Most Valuable Player Awards (2008, 2013), WNBA Finals MVP Award (2016), WNBA All-Star Game MVP (2013), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2008). Parker has been selected to six all-WNBA teams and five all-star teams, and was the first player to win the Rookie of the Year and the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award in the same season.