It’s true that Candace Parker is a WNBA star, an Olympian, a podcaster and a sports analyst.

But she’s more than that. Parker is a businesswoman, an investor, a mother, and a wife and she recently took the TED stage and shared how she’s learned to embrace her individuality.

“Barrier breaking is about not staying in your lane and not being something the world expects you to be,” Parker said in her 12-minute TED Talk.

Parker spoke about how she has always approached life with a “can-do” attitude, so much so that it actually earned her the nickname “can-do.”


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Parker’s rookie season resulted in a rookie of the year and MVP award, then she gave birth to her daughter in the offseason. Less than two months later, she was back on the court with the Los Angeles Sparks. She nursed her daughter for 13-months, sometimes even during halftime.

In 1997, When Parker was 11, the WNBA was launched.

“I no longer had to go out in the driveway and try to dunk like Michael Jordan,” Parker said. “I could go out and get buckets like Cynthia Cooper.”

As a child, Parker’s parents stressed the importance of sports. They saw winning, learning to lose, accepting differences and getting up through the challenges as a microcosm of life. As Parker grew up, she realized that the world outside of sports was different. The world put people into a box, but Parker’s competitive spirit wouldn’t let her fit into just one.

“Girls can’t dunk in a game? I’ll dunk twice,” Parker said. “You can’t win an MVP trophy pregnant? Alright, I’ll show you.”

Parker came in as one of the top-earning female athletes in 2021, bringing in $5.7 million.

She is coming off her second WNBA Championship in her 14-year career. She and her wife, Anna Petrakova are expecting a son.

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