Candace Parker celebrates after winning the gold medal against Australia at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Since Candace Parker graduated from Naperville Central as a star basketball player, she won two NCAA titles, WNBA Rookie of the Year, WNBA MVP, an Olympic gold medal and became a mother. This summer, she has her sights set on more Olympic gold, and wants to enjoy the process this time.
Parker wants to help the U.S. win their fifth straight gold medal in women's basketball.
"Winning the Olympic gold medal the last time was very special, but I don't think I truly grasped what we were doing at the time," Parker said to the Chicago Tribune. "I had just graduated college, we won the national championship, I jumped into the WNBA ... everything was going so fast. The second time around, I'm going to stop and smell the roses. This might be my last time."
Torn cartilage in her knee and a shoulder dislocation have kept Parker from playing as often as she wants, but when she get on the court, she makes a difference. This season, she is averaging 18.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. In an exhibition game against China, she scored 25 of Team USA's 100 points.
Now, Parker will try to become the next Chicago area Olympian to bring medals back to the Windy City.