Former Los Angeles Sparks and 2-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker retires from basketball

Candace Parker, the longtime Los Angeles Sparks legend, three-time WNBA champion and two-time WNBA MVP, announced her retirement from professional basketball on Sunday.

In a post to Instagram on Sunday morning, Parker said the “competitor” in her wants to play another season, but “it’s time.”

“My HEART & body knew, but I needed to give my mind time to accept it,” she said in the post, alongside a photo of her gripping a basketball as a young child.

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Parker, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft to the Sparks, said she wanted to walk away from the game without any extra fanfare.

“I always wanted to walk off the court with no parade or tour, just privately with the ones I love,” she said. “What now was to be my last game, I walked off the court with my daughter. I ended the journey just as I started it, with her.”

She cited ongoing pain that contributed to the decision to retire. Parker said she underwent 10 surgeries in her career.

FILE - Las Vegas Aces forward Candace Parker (3) reacts during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Seattle. Parker plans on playing another season if she's healthy enough to do so. The two-time WNBA MVP missed the Las Vegas Aces run to a second straight league championship after having surgery on her left foot in late July. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

Parker played three seasons at the University of Tennessee under the legendary coach Pat Summit from 2005 to 2008, guiding the Lady Volunteers to back-to-back National Championships in the final two years.

After being drafted to L.A., Parker played 13 seasons for the Sparks. She was WNBA MVP in 2008 and 2013 and led the team to a championship in 2016.

After departing the Sparks she played three more seasons — two with her hometown Chicago Sky and one with the Las Vegas Aces. Despite battling injuries in the final stretches of her career, Parker won two additional championships, one with with each squad.

Parker was also one of the main superstars for the United States National Team throughout her career, winning Gold Medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

Since 2018, Parker has worked as an analyst and commentator for the NBA on TNT, working alongside sports broadcasting and basketball legends like Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.

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