Candace Parker is not new to the hoopla that surrounds the WNBA All-Star game.
A now six-time All-Star, Parker knows very well how it all goes.
The league commissioner might contact you before your coach does, your teammates clap when you walk into the gym for practice or onto the bus for a game and social media buzzes about the biggest snubs.
For Parker, the most valuable part of the entire experience has been the memories, specifically with her daughter, Lailaa.
“I’m excited to share this with my family — my daughter,” Parker said following the Sky’s 91-81 win over Dallas Wednesday night. “The first All-Star game she went to she was sitting on the bench with me. She may have been three years old at the time.”
Parker’s first All-Star game was in 2013. She dropped 23 points, breaking Swin Cash’s previous scoring record in an All-Star game of 22 and was named Most Valuable Player.
Another special aspect of this All-Star appearance is sharing it with her teammates who were also selected, three-time All-Star Courtney Vandersloot and first-time All-Star Kahleah Copper. The Sky had the most players in the league on the top 36 vote-getters list with seven. Allie Quigley, Diamond DeShields, Ruthy Hebard and Stefanie Dolson all received top voting numbers along with the Sky’s three All-Stars.
Copper leads the Sky in scoring with 14.1 points per game. Parker said it’s special that people are finally seeing her value. During free agency ahead of the 2020 season, Copper and coach and general manager James Wade sat down for breakfast to have a detailed conversation.
The two discussed her future with the Sky but more specifically, what she wanted to accomplish and how Wade and the Sky could help her. Evolving from a role player to a starter and a leader along with becoming an All-Star were goals she and Wade shared.
“A lot of people probably thought we were being far-fetched, but here we are,” Wade said.
Stefanie Dolson, who was named to Team USA’s 3×3 basketball roster, will be in Las Vegas preparing for the Tokyo Olympics. She said that the entire team is planning to attend the All-Star game similar to 2019 when Vandersloot, Diamond DeShields and Allie Quigley were selected.
Dolson also shared deep pride in Copper’s accomplishment. The pair arrived in Chicago together in 2017 in a trade that sent Elena Delle Donne to Washington. Now in their fifth season with the Sky, Dolson said she earned this nod because she committed to improving all weak areas of her game.
“Both teams we’ve been on she’s been that spark,” Dolson said.
The Sky and the Connecticut Sun are tied for most All-Stars will three each. Vandersloot’s league-leading assist average of 8.7 plus her 11.6 points and 2.1 steals a game made her an obvious selection.
More impressive than any stat is her ability to dictate opponents’ defense. She’s always two steps ahead of her team, setting the standard for them to follow. Vandersloot is the fourth all-time assist leader in the WNBA with 2,062. Wednesday night she tied Ticha Penicheiro for most games recording 10 or more assists in a career (64).
The Sky have one of the most complete teams in the league this year with seven players scoring in double figures against the Wings Wednesday. On nights like that, all opponents can do is pick their poison.
“When we’re playing at our best it’s hard to beat us,” Dolson said.