Parker Trumps Sky Experience With an Ace


What do you give the woman who seems to have everything?

Why not an even more incredible chapter to an already legendary career?

Like any accomplished woman’s, Candace Parker‘s success hasn’t been a straight line up. That’s not how life works— remember trying to draw a circle without a protractor?

While numerous philosophers argue correctly about time being a wheel, it’s refreshing that Parker’s career looks more like a staircase.

Up, sidewise and maybe a slip on a chipped step. But always, always for the good of her family and the wider world of women’s basketball.

This One’s For Pat!

Aren’t two-second answers annoying? It would be great if athletes could give overworked reporters more than a speedy soundbite every time.

However, one can forgive Parker for uncharacteristic brevity after winning an emotional first pro championship with Los Angeles.

Pat Summitt, Parker’s college coach at Tennessee, passed away earlier that season. What better tribute to a legendary mentor than perfecting her craft on the game’s biggest stage?

Alas, the next step — shockingly for California — was ice-slicked. Parker never established a rapport with new coach Derek Fisher, and the Sparks’ fortunes too quickly reversed.

Thankfully, in a new era of player empowerment, women are no longer serfs in unhappy situations. Elena Delle Donne opened the justice gate in 2017 by leaving Chicago for Washington. Parker, perhaps in an act of karmic restoration, signed with Chicago as a free agent in 2021.

The Sky, again, were championship contenders.

Going Home, Changing Homes

First, however, another misfortune occurred. Parker sprained her ankle early in the season, and the Sky lost seven straight. Thankfully, Parker returned to rout struggling Indiana at her beautiful new downtown Wintrust Arena.

Then: yikes! Parker literally slipped. She fell on a wet spot on the court in her next game as the Sky visited Indiana at the Farmers Coliseum fairground. (Because apparently, the WNBA season is the best time to renovate the Fever’s home arena!) Thankfully, Parker rose gracefully, having learned from a Tennessee coach who expected and accepted no excuses.

Chicago rallied to win that contest but only managed a 16-16 record overall. To make the situation seemingly worse, due to that year’s playoff structure, the Sky would have to win two win-or-go-home-sad games to reach the semifinals.

Counterintuitively, the strange format, in its final season, helped Parker. Chicago easily won its first two games, then used its newfound momentum to defeat Connecticut with just one loss in the best-of-five series.

Although Diana Taurasi and her formidable Phoenix Mercury seemed a stricter challenge, Parker again refused to blink in adversity’s face. The Mercury won a game in Phoenix, but none more. After Taurasi futilely fouled Parker’s mentee and friend, Courtney Vandersloot, Parker sobbed in joy.

After Vandersloot’s concluding free throws, Parker again became a champion. This time was different, though: it was in her beloved Chicago hometown.

Strange, though. The concept of a home hasn’t changed in America for centuries. Yet for nearly everyone, its location often does.

Full Success Deck

After Chicago devastatingly lost at home to conclude its 2022 playoff run, Parker decided she had reached the summit of her Sky career.

Instead of sprinting down to retirement, though, she saw a new opportunity mountain in a desert oasis. In a beautiful Instagram post, Parker announced she would join the already immensely talented Las Vegas Aces.

At the end of Stephen King’s epic The Stand, after (no spoiler!) an epic conclusion, King observed that time always returns us to the same place.

But it seems that King never watched Parker play.

Parker traveled not in a circle but gradually higher through a remarkable career with a loving and growing family. Will she win a third ring with the dazzlingly successful Aces?

Here’s a tip: the house always wins.


About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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