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Candace Parker retires from WNBA after 16-year career for Sparks, Sky, Aces

Candace Parker announced on Sunday she will retire from the WNBA after playing 16 years in the league. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
1 of 3 | Candace Parker announced on Sunday she will retire from the WNBA after playing 16 years in the league. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- Las Vegas Aces star Candace Parker announced her retirement on Sunday, capping a 16-year career in the WNBA.

Parker, 38, announced the decision in a post on Instagram Sunday afternoon, opening a statement by declaring simply "I'm retiring."

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"I promised I'd never cheat the game and that I'd leave it in a better place than I came into it," Parker wrote. "The competitor in me always wants one more but it's my time. My HEART and body knew, but I needed to give my mind time to accept it."

Addressing her decision to step away nearly two weeks before the start of the WNBA season, Parker said she "always wanted to walk off the court with no parade our tour, just privately with the ones I love."

"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," Parker wrote.

Parker entered the WNBA as the first overall pick in 2008 and spent 13 years with the Los Angeles Sparks.

During her tenure with the Sparks, she was twice named the league's MVP in 2008 and 2013 and won her first championship in 2016, earning Finals MVP honors.

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In 2021 Parker signed with the Chicago Sky and helped lead the team to win the WNBA championship.

She finished her career with the Las Vegas Aces in 2023 where she was able to claim her third championship.

Throughout her career, Parker was also named to the All-Star team seven times, winning MVP honors in 2013 and was named to the All-WNBA First Team seven times.

She was named Rookie of the Year in 2008 and won Defensive Player of the year in 2020.

"I'm grateful for the 16 years I PLAYED A GAME for a living and DESPITE all the injuries, I hooped. I'm grateful for family, friends, teammates, coaches, doctors, trainers and fans who made this journey so special," Parker wrote.

Parker was also an Olympian, winning gold medals in 2008 and 2012 and a standout in college at the University of Tennessee, winning back-to-back NCAA championships in 2007 and 2008 and being named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding player both years.

She quoted her coach at Tennesse, the late Pat Summit in her retirement post Sunday.

"My mission in life, like Pat Summitt always said, is to 'chase people and passions and you will never fail,'" she said. "Being a wife and a mom still remains priority #1 and I've learned that time flies so I plan to enjoy my family to the fullest.

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Parker, who has also worked as a broadcaster for Turner, covering the NBA and NCAA basketball, said she plans on "attacking" fields such as business, private equity, production and ownership, pledging to own both an NBA and WNBA team.

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