From college titles to WNBA MVPs to Olympic gold medals, Candace Parker is living the basketball career even the best could only dream of. That doesn't make the 35-year-old Chicago Sky star any less salty about her omission from Team USA's eventual gold medal-winning squad in 2016.
In an interview with Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks, Parker claimed then-Team USA coach and UConn legend Geno Auriemma didn't want her on the 2016 team for personal reasons. Parker said the two "don't like each other," and their relationship -- not her performance -- led to the two-time WNBA MVP's omission from the final roster.
"He doesn't like me," said Paker, who won gold medals with Team USA in 2008 and 2012. "I don't like him."
"It wasn't on the court. So if it's me as an individual, as a person, I'm spending time away from my daughter to come and do these camps [where] I'm not even being judged off of how I'm playing."
The stats seem to support Parker's claims. Over Team USA's four-game European Tour in October 2015, Parker was the team's fourth-leading scorer and led the squad in rebounds, assists and blocks.
Parker was also coming off an impressive WNBA season, one in which she averaged 19.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks per game for the Los Angeles Sparks.
Team USA reached out to Parker to gauge her interest in returning for the 2020 Tokyo Games, but Parker declined even though South Carolina coach Dawn Staley replaced Auriemma. Parker, a six-time WNBA All-Star, said she made the decision because USA Basketball's scheduling could compromise players' health.
"There's so many times where now looking back, especially after being cut, that they have this expectation that you just drop everything and just come and play in your one break," Parker said. "... For a long time, women dreamed of playing in the Olympics, and they would do anything at any cost [to get there].And I think the evolution over time needs to be more about the player and the health.
"I'm done. I'm happy I got two gold medals. I appreciate the experience, and I wish them well, honestly ... It's important for USA to stay on top."
Parker led Tennessee to two national championships and finished her college career undefeated against UConn, so her rocky relationship with Auriemma makes sense.