Candace Parker has accomplished so much during her storied 16-season career that the WNBA record books are essentially just a biography of her. A new chapter was written on Wednesday night, making Parker the first player in WNBA history to win championships with three different teams.
Parker, unfortunately, was not on the floor for Game 4 of the Finals, or any of the Aces' playoff run for that matter. In fact, she hadn't played since July 7. Parker had been playing with the injury prior to that point, but eventually made the decision in consultation with her doctors that continuing to soldier on would cause too much further damage to her foot.
When she was on the floor early in the season, she was a perfect fit for the Aces in her first season with the club. Her shock decision to sign with the defending champions last winter was one of the biggest free agency moves ever, and helped kickstart the superteam arms race.
During her 18 games, she averaged nine points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 46.5% from the field. Her veteran presence and versatility on both ends of the floor elevated the Aces to a historic level, as they got off to a 16-2 start. When Parker was healthy, their primary starting lineup was outscoring teams by an almost unbelievable 23.9 points per 100 possessions. Her injury, and the subsequent injuries to Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes were the only reason there was any doubt about who would win the title this season.
For her career, Parker now has three titles, two MVPs, a Finals MVP, a Defensive Player of the Year award, a Rookie of the Year award, 10 All-WNBA appearances (including seven First Team) and seven All-Star appearances. And that's to say nothing of her accomplishments in college or overseas.
The only question remaining with Parker is whether we'll see her on the court again. Once again a free agent, she has been open about considering retirement in the past and will turn 38 years old by the time the 2024 season begins. No one wants to go out with an injury, but sometimes your body tells you it's time. Let's hope that isn't the case with Parker.