WNBA Star Candace Parker Is an MVP When It Comes to Fighting for Equality in Sports

The basketball star and mom of a 12-year-old daughter talks about her best and worst parenting moments and how she's making changes to the sports business.

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Photo: Jennifer Potteheiser/Getty

One year into playing WNBA basketball, when she was the reigning MVP and Rookie of the Year, Candace Parker gave birth to Lailaa, now 12. It meant hustling back to work six weeks later, but the juggle was worth it. "Being a mom is my number-one favorite job," says Parker, 35, who's now a forward for the Chicago Sky. She and her preteen are among a group of majority female co-owners of the Angel City Football Club who are aiming to revolutionize how female athletes are compensated.

Recent parenting win

The great opportunity to get my daughter invested in the new professional women's soccer team in Los Angeles. Though she's still a kid, Lailaa will join dozens of co-owners including Serena Williams, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, former soccer players, and me. I'm excited for young people to see how a sports business could and should be run.

Recent parenting miss

Finding out, on the morning that school started back up, that Lailaa had outgrown her school uniform pants

My parenting superpower

Knowing I have my daughter as my teammate. I don't make any major decisions without her.

My parenting kryptonite

I don't always serve healthy meals. Sometimes you need a cheat meal … or day.

Best time of day

Walking the dogs with Lailaa in the evening

Worst time of day

Conference calls, especially Zoom calls

Best trait my kid got from me

Lailaa always gets back up after a fall, and the maturity she shows when handling tough situations never ceases to amaze me.

Unfortunate trait my kid got from me

Facial expressions. Neither Lailaa nor I can hide anything.

I feel like a cool mom when

Lailaa watches my favorite childhood shows like Full House and Sister, Sister.

I feel like an uncool mom when

I try the latest TikTok dance. Lailaa is not impressed.

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Parker hugs Lailaa at her last game for Los Angeles. Now she plays for her hometown, Chicago. Courtesy of Candace Parker

Activity we love

Getting outside and getting active. Whether it's playing basketball or soccer or just lying by the pool, we always have a blast.

Activity we hate

I think every parent can agree: Virtual learning was tough over this past year.

At least I have this down

I know I can talk to Lailaa about anything, no matter how big or small. That leads to our having conversations that my peers and I probably didn't have with our own parents. I know her generation will change the world, and I can't wait to see what they accomplish.

I am still figuring this out

Not feeling guilty about parenting missteps or shortcomings. Parenting is a great equalizer but also the biggest blessing. From trials to belly laughs, family is center stage for all that life has to offer.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's August 2021 issue as "Highs and Lows: Candace Parker" Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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