We’ve spent a substantial amount of time this year speaking on the present and future of the WNBA. Candace Parker recently announced her retirement after 16 fantastic seasons. In more ways than one, Parker embodied what the modern-day WNBA superstar is. Great players usually have highly decorated careers, and Parker’s is no exception. I’d go as far as to say that her career might be the most decorated. It might also be one of the most unique.

I love when players find success on every team that they play for. Parker has three WNBA championships and won them respectively on every team she played for: the Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces. The most recent championship run may have been cut short by injury for Parker, but there’s no doubt that she helped guide that team. She has won Defensive Player of the Year and has been a finals MVP as well. Most notably, Parker won Rookie of The Year and league MVP during the same season. It’s a huge accomplishment, and rather rare because who comes into the league mature enough to be that player? Candace Parker.

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But Parker’s legacy goes well beyond her accomplishments on the court as a leader and champion. Much like her L.A. Sparks predecessor Lisa Leslie, Parker made a name for herself off the court, too. She made herself marketable. She also began prepping for her life outside of basketball. We’ve made note in the past about pay disparities between the men’s and women’s games. Parker got out in front of all of that again by using the examples the ladies before her had set.

There have been quite a few women basketball analysts on television before Parker. But Parker is the first woman that I can remember who was an active player in the WNBA, and then did NBA analysis during her off-season. Parker’s legacy is all about showing other ladies just how far they can take this thing. Once Parker took her talents to the media, I saw the likes of other active WNBA players move similarly, namely Chiney Ogwumike. She is a featured panelist on NBA Today, and Parker is on Inside The NBA on TNT. Parker has made it possible to grow the WNBA brand in this way. By showing how intricately she knows the game, she challenges such a patriarchal society.

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So, Parker goes out as a champion — the way it should be. Winning at every level, it’s only right that she got out on her terms, having done things her way. She is the shining standard of what it means to be a WNBA superstar. As this new era of players continues to make their places known in the league, I do not doubt they will follow Parker’s blueprint of being a star. She has given a fresh coat of paint to the word legend. And for that, this retirement deserves to be celebrated.