Sept. 16 will never be the same in Chicago after Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a proclamation Wednesday making it Candace Parker Day.
Parker, one of pro basketball’s most decorated players, grew up in Naperville. She led Naperville Central to two state titles before heading to Tennessee and winning two NCAA championships with the Lady Vols.
Selected first overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, Parker became the first player in league history to be named rookie of the year and MVP in the same season.
She’s a WNBA champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a two-time WNBA MVP, a six-time WNBA All-Star, a Euroleague champion and the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Parker’s family and friends, including former teammate Chelsea Gray, were in attendance for Lightfoot’s announcement. Parker had no knowledge of the honor.
“I never envisioned this,” Parker said. “That’s what is so special about basketball. It opens up so many doors. I have the mayor saying she watched me play my senior year. Her daughter is playing basketball now. It’s about carrying it on and trying to open up more doors for the next.”
Along with Parker being honored with her own day in Chicago, Adidas announced three new colorways for Parker’s signature shoe as part of the brand-new Candace Parker Collection. There are only nine players in the WNBA’s 25-year history with their own sneaker line. Reigning MVP Breanna Stewart became the latest when she signed a multiyear shoe deal with Puma in May.
This year, Parker has been a key piece for the Sky as the team prepares to make its third consecutive playoff appearance. The Sky clinched a spot in the postseason after their 92-84 victory Sept. 5 against the Las Vegas Aces. Parker had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The sixth-seeded Sky have two more regular-season games left — against the Aces on Friday and the Indiana Fever on Sunday.