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Candace Parker is a basketball player competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Candace Parker makes her second Olympic appearance in London, where the U.S. women will be playing for their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. Just three months removed from college during the 2008 Beijing Games, Parker didn't start any of the eight games but averaged 9.4 points (fifth on team), 4.5 rebounds (third) and got to the free-throw line more than anyone else on the team (31 attempts, 21 makes). And she was an efficient shooter, making 27-of-44 field goal attempts (61.4 percent), the second-best percentage in the tournament among women who averaged at least three shots. Parker has not suited up for Team USA since Beijing, missing the 2010 World Championships because of a dislocated left shoulder.

The Olympic gold medal was just another note in an incredible 2008 for Parker. On April 8, she led Tennessee to its second straight NCAA national title, after which Parker was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four for the second consecutive year. The next day, she was selected first overall in the WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, becoming the first player with remaining college eligibility to be taken No. 1. Then, in her first professional game on May 17, Parker scored 34 points, the most in a WNBA debut (and added 12 rebounds). On June 23, she was awarded the Honda-Broderick Cup, which is given to the collegiate woman athlete of the year. She received her Olympic gold medal on Aug. 23, and on Oct. 3 she was named the WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year, becoming the first player to earn both honors in the same season. A month later, on Nov. 13, Parker married NBA player Shelden Williams.

Despite the abundance of talent on Team USA, Parker stepped right in and contributed — and impressed her teammates. "She does things at her height that you don't see many people do: the ability to shoot outside, go inside, she can dribble, rebound, go coast-to-coast," said U.S. teammate Sue Bird. Said Diana Taurasi, another U.S. teammate: "The thing that really sets her apart: When you're young, a lot of people don't want to listen. But she listens and actually puts it to work when she gets advice." Parker first joined the senior national team for the 2006 World Championships.

The youngest player on Team USA's 2006 Worlds team, Parker also was the only collegian on the squad, which went 8-1 and earned the bronze medal. Generally the first player off the bench, Parker was third on the team in points (12.3 per game), second in rebounds (6.1) and first in field goal percentage (58.3). She also led the team in blocked shots with 14, which was good for an all-time world championship record (the previous mark was 11). At the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament, where the U.S. went 5-0 and qualified for the 2008 Olympics, Parker started each game and averaged 13.8 points, which tied Tina Thompson for the team lead. Parker shot 61.7 percent from the field and added 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Parker's rookie season remains her finest in the WNBA largely because she missed significant time the following three years. She was out for the first month of the 2009 season after the birth of her first child, Lailaa, who was born on May 13. But Parker still played 25 games that year and was named to the All-WNBA and All-Defensive second teams; she was an All-WNBA first-teamer in her 2008 MVP season. In 2010, she played just 10 games before dislocating her left shoulder, at the time of which she was averaging a career-high 20.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. Then in 2011, Parker appeared in just 17 games — not counting the 2011 WNBA All-Star game — after missing 15 games due to a right knee injury. But the injuries haven't kept her from competing professionally overseas during the WNBA offseason, as many women do. Parker has played the past three seasons with UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia.

She played just three seasons as a Tennessee Volunteer, but Parker clearly made her mark as one of the school's finest. In addition to her two national titles and MOP awards, she won the 2007 and 2008 Women's John R. Wooden awards, the 2008 Naismith Player of the Year and 2008 Associated Press Player of the Year. A second-team All-American selection following her freshman season, Parker made the first-team as a sophomore and junior. Her 2,137 career points rank were third all-time in Tennessee women's basketball history when she left school.

Parker first achieved national fame when she became the first female to win a slam dunk contest, which she did during the 2004 McDonald's High School All-American weekend. And she went to new heights in college. As a freshman, she became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA Tournament game. Later, she became the first woman to dunk twice in the same college game. And in her 11th professional game, on June 22, Parker became the second woman to dunk in a WNBA contest. Lisa Leslie, her former Sparks and U.S. teammate, was the only other WNBA player previously to do it. But two days later, Parker dunked again to become the first WNBA player to dunk in consecutive games. Parker says she first dunked as a 15-year-old sophomore in high school.

Parker has been around basketball for years. In addition to her husband Williams, who currently plays for the New Jersey Nets, one of her two older brothers is Anthony Parker, a guard for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers who also spent time playing in Israel and Italy and went to college at Bradley. Williams played his college ball at Duke.

After four years at Naperville Central High School, Parker was one of the most highly-touted recruits in the nation. In her final three prep seasons, she was the Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year, and in 2003 and '04, she was the Naismith, Gatorade and USA Today National High School Player of the Year. All the while, Parker was on Naperville Central's High Honor Roll each semester of her high school career.


How tall is Candace Parker? How old is Candace Parker? Where does Candace Parker live? Find out here.

Age: 30 years old
Birthday: April 19, 1986
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 174 lbs.
Full Name / Real Name: Candace Nicole Parker
Birthplace: St. Louis, MO
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Husband: Shelden Williams (11/13/2008, 1 child)

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