MVP Basketball Forward, Los Angeles
Candace Parker is another athlete who was born into a family full of athletic talent. Her father was a college star at the University of Iowa®, and her older brother Anthony was a standout athlete who would go on to play professionally both in Europe and in the NBA® for teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers® and the Toronto Raptors®. Candace started playing basketball at the early age of two and immediately fell in love with the sport.
Candace dominated in high school basketball. Playing for Naperville High School in Illinois, she led her team to two state championships. She received numerous awards, including being named the High School Player of the Year by Gatorade® and USA Today®. During Candace’s senior year in high school, she was named to the All-American® Women’s Team for the prestigious McDonald’s All-Star Weekend. At the event, male and female athletes compete in various events including a slam dunk contest. Despite typically only male athletes competing in this event, Candace entered anyway, becoming not only the first woman to compete, but after an incredible no-look dunk, the first woman to win the All-Star Slam Dunk contest!
After high school, Candace went on to play for the University of Tennessee® in 2004 but had a rough start as she dealt with a serious ACL tear. After taking some time to heal up, Candace took the NCAA® by storm in the 2005-06 season by averaging 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. She also became the first female to dunk in an NCAA® Tournament Game and the first woman to dunk twice in any game. The next season, Candace was a first team All-American and the SEC® Player of the Year. She was named University Division I Academic All-American of the Year in women’s basketball for 2008 by the College Sports Information Directors of America and in the same year led her team to their second straight NCAA® women’s title. During her time at Tennessee, Candace compiled a record of 101 wins and 10 losses, and averaged 19.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
After college, Candace was selected as the first pick in the 2008 WNBA® draft by the Los Angeles Sparks® on April 9, 2008. On May 17, 2008, in her debut game against the Phoenix Mercury®, she recorded 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Her 34 points broke the record for a rookie in a debut game. In August 2008, the WNBA® suspended play for a couple of weeks for some of their players to join the national team at the 2008 Summer Olympic® Games. Parker was selected as part of the U.S. team, which cruised with 8 straight victories to achieve the gold medal.
Candace Parker is clearly an incredibly talented athlete with amazing drive and focus. Candace’s high level of dedication demands that she take her health and fitness very seriously. Maintaining her body through a rigorous strength and conditioning program as well as with elite level nutrition from Six Star Pro Nutrition®, Candace Parker will continue to excel in the sport of basketball and inspire women all around the world to follow in her footsteps.
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