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Can Candace Parker help the Aces Defend their Championship Title?

Bringing a championship to a city is no easy task. However, Candace Parker seems to make it look effortless. Parker led the Los Angeles Sparks to a championship in 2016, even winning WNBA Playoffs MVP. Parker’s next ring was with her hometown team, the Chicago Sky in 2021. 

Last season, the Sky fell to the Connecticut Sun in the second round after which Parker officially became a free agent. 

Parker believes signing with the Las Vegas Aces meets all of her needs. Parker says relationships are the “center of her universe.” Parker met Aces’ Head Coach Becky Hammon through her wife, Anna Petrakova. The two played for Russia’s basketball league. New teammate Chelsea Gray is even her son’s godmother. President of the Aces Nikki Fargas recruited Parker to the University of Tennessee. 

With Becky Hammon as their coach, The Las Vegas Aces not only won the Inaugural Commissioner’s Cup, also the WNBA Championship, a title they seek to defend with Parker in the mix.

Four-time All-Star turned Aces General Manager Natalie Williams discussed the reasoning for the pursuit of Parker. Williams says Parker’s “character, leadership, and basketball IQ” were the determining factors.

“Looking at all the great players available, we just felt like Candace was the absolute perfect fit,” said Williams. “Not only is she a first class athlete and person, she’s a future hall of famer. We felt in order for us to defend our championship that Candace was where we needed to go. 

Hammon says the merger with Parker and the Aces is “iron sharpening iron.”

Hammon’s coaching structure heavily relies on trusting the players and giving them the “freedom” to make the calls they feel is best. Hammon calls this “empowering” to the players.

“Everywhere (Candace) has gone, she’s won. So to add her to our locker room, I’m excited to learn from her. I’m someone who believes in trusting the players,” said Hammon. “When I think of Candace I think of excellence.”

Hammon believes she can allow Parker to make executive decisions on the court. Hammon says she trusts Parker’s championship culture mentally.”

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