DEERFIELD – Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make a major transition a little easier for one of the biggest stars in the history of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
While she is back in the area to which she great up, there’s a lot that’s new for Candace Parker here in 2021 as she joins the Chicago Sky.
It comes after 13 years with the Los Angeles Sparks, where the Naperville native and former Stevenson High School school established herself as one of the best in the game. In was on the west coast where she won two league MVP awards, made five All-Star Games, and led her team to the 2016 WNBA championship.
But even for Parker, there is some adjustment, as she gets ready to play under a new head coach, new teammates and aid the Sky’s efforts for their first league championship.
So the forward is keeping it simple when it comes to finding her way on James Wade’s team.
“Individually, when you come into situations the best thing to do is just be yourself, and that’s what I try to do. I’m energetic, I’m talkative, I’m competitive, and that’s what I bring to the court,” said Parker. “I’m a big communicator and, you know, I have questions, and they’ve done a good job of just welcoming and encouraging me to be myself.”
For Parker, the communication has been paramount to her smooth transition to workouts so far in Deerfield.
“Just how comfortable people are with just talking and being receptive but also giving advice. Just the communication I think from my point of view just being new to a situation has been unbelievable,” said Parker. “Just everything that is expected of me and of this team is communicated well and is understood on both lines of communications.
“So for me, I think, sometimes that’s the thing that takes the longest is communication and it seems like we’re right there.”
That’s a good thing as she continues to learn about her new team ahead of their exhibition opener on May 9th against the Fever and then their season opener against the Mystics on May 15th in Washington. While she’s gotten to know some of her teammates so far, more are still to arrive as they go through league COVID-19 protocols before starting their training.
An early arrival to workouts puts Parker in the best position to make the transition easier.
“At this point, being here on Day 1 of training camp I think is a huge advantage. I’m able to learn all the plays and walk through the defensive schemes,” said Parker. “Everybody’s doing a good job of communicating with me of what’s expected of the entire team. “
Diamond DeShields, a 2019 WNBA All-Star, would say the same about Parker, as she’s already been quick to make her impact on teammates.
“You can feel the love and the passion she has for the game,” said DeShields. “Her energy kinda just find its way to spread throughout the gym in a positive way. She’s well aware of the capacity she has to influence the environment, and so she does a really good job of staying positive and encouraging and being a leader.”
That’s not a surprise to Candace, who is trying to be the same person with a different team.