all scores

Candace Parker plans to return for 2023 WNBA season

Candace Parker ranks in the top five in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in WNBA playoff history. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Candace Parker is not adding her name to the recent list of basketball greats who have said goodbye to the WNBA. At least, she doesn’t think so.

After Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles – the latter of which came into the league the same year as Parker – announced their retirements during the 2022 season, questions about Parker’s status began to surface.

During All-Star Weekend in Chicago, Parker joked that she would know it was time to retire when she couldn’t get her leg over the Peloton she uses for offseason cardio.

She followed that up after her team was eliminated from the 2022 playoffs by the Connecticut Sun with a more poignant answer.

“Just like I do every season, I’m going to go back and re-evaluate whether I’m able to continue to play at the level that I hold myself to,” she said. “And I think that’s the biggest thing, I don’t ever want to cheat the game. I won’t cheat the game.

“So when I’m not able to go out and play and be the Candace that I want to be, I won’t play.”

Now, it seems Parker has done her evaluations, and she plans to play in 2023.

The Chicago star joined the “Sports Media with Richard Deitsch” podcast to discuss her future.

“I plan to play, I plan to come back, but at the same time, last year was the reverse,” she said in Wednesday’s edition of the podcast. “I couldn’t imagine lacing up shoes again. I couldn’t imagine going through game 27 on the schedule. And then a switch flipped in February and I was ready to go. I like to take the offseason and take my time, but right now, I don’t know if I’ve dribbled my last ball.”

Parker has enjoyed a historic career, one that started at Tennessee, where she played for the Volunteers and coach Pat Summitt from 2004-08. Parker was selected first overall in the 2008 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. She spent 12 years with the franchse and helped the Sparks to a title in 2016, earning the Finals MVP trophy.

When Parker does retire, she will likely finish her career with her current team, the Chicago Sky. Parker joined the Sky as a free agent in 2021, returning to her roots. The 36-year-old forward grew up in Naperville, Illinois, just outside of the city. She went on to lead Chicago to a title in 2021.

During her career, Parker has been named WNBA MVP two times (2008 and 2013), won two titles, and been named to the WNBA First Team seven times.