Candace Parker, one of the biggest stars women’s basketball has ever known, is a playbook for keeping your eye on the prize.
In 2016, Parker led the Los Angeles Sparks to their third WNBA championship title and a first for the star athlete, delivering 28 points and 12 rebounds in a nail biting Game 5 win against the Minnesota Lynx. She was awarded WNBA Finals MVP that year, adding to her already impressive accolades of WNBA Most Valuable Player (2008, 2013), WNBA All-Star Game MVP (2013), two time Olympic gold medalist (2008, 2012) and the 2008 WNBA Rookie of the Year award.
The “female Michael Jordan” isn’t just about winning awards; these days, she’s keeping her eye on the one who stole her heart. Parker welcomed her daughter Lailaa Nicole (“Lai)” with then husband Shelden Williams in May 2009. A dream, per Parker, she’s had “as long as I can remember.”
“We are very excited to be expanding our family. This is such a life changing moment for us, we feel blessed to have a healthy and beautiful baby girl,” Parker told PEOPLE at the time.
In a 2015 open letter to her baby girl, as part of Time magazine’s “Letters to Mom,” Parker wrote:
“For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of being a mother. Life stood still from the moment I heard your first heartbeats and felt your first kicks. May 13, 2009 really rocked my world,” she wrote.