Sky's Candace Parker intends to return for 16th WNBA season

ByAlexa Philippou ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Candace Parker announced that she intends to play in the 2023 WNBA season, her 16th in the league, she told The Athletic on Monday.

"Right now, yeah, I'm game," Parker, 36, told The Athletic on a podcast published Wednesday. "Let's see if my body is this way in January, February, but I plan to play, I plan to come back."

When asked going into the 2022 season if she assumed that would be her final year in the league, Parker responded, "That is how I'm entering the season. I mean, I don't know, I don't know what the future holds. I know my contract is up after this year. And there will be decisions to be made."

"At the same time last year, it was the reverse: I couldn't imagine lacing up shoes again," Parker told The Athletic on Wednesday. "I couldn't imagine going through Game 27 on the schedule. And then a switch flipped in February and I was ready to go."

The two-time WNBA MVP and league champion is coming off her second season with the Chicago Sky following her storied career with the Los Angeles Sparks, where she was drafted No. 1 overall in 2008. After winning Chicago's franchise-first title in 2021, the Sky suffered a disappointing loss in the WNBA semifinals to the Connecticut Sun.

"Losing last year, I was working out six days after we lost," Parker said. "I just wanted to compete at everything. My family knows -- dominoes, let's go, beach volleyball, let's go. That was my mentality, because I hate losing."

The former Tennessee legend has experienced a career renaissance in recent years, averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists in Chicago last season. She was named an All-Star the past two years and earned a first-team All-WNBA bid in 2022, the seventh of her career.

"I like to take the offseason and take my time, but right now I don't know if I've dribbled my last ball on the court," Parker said. "I think I'm super competitive. I want to play at a high level and want to prepare. I think when you stop preparing, that's when you start cheating the game, and I don't ever want to do that."

The majority of the Sky's 2022 core, including Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Azura Stevens and Emma Meesseman, are free agents this offseason, along with Parker.