Candace Parker, Tennessee Forward
Posted: Tuesday February 6, 2007 11:06AM; Updated: Tuesday February 6, 2007 11:06AM
On her first dunk
I was 15, a sophomore at Naperville [Ill.] Central High, and I was practicing with my dad [Larry, who played at Iowa] when I did it. The first two times I tried it in games I failed. Embarrassing. The third time was a charm, and then cameras and reporters were everywhere -- everyone wanted to talk about dunking. It was special, but that's not all I want my game to be known for. Eventually the hype about my dunks will die down because more women players will do it. My teammates don't get hyped about it anymore because they've seen me do it so many times.
On what she wishes she could do as an athlete
Play tennis. I root for Serena [Williams] all the time, and I'm glad she's back. If I played, though, my game would probably be more similar to Venus's. She and I are both pretty tall and strong.
On coach Pat Summitt's best advice
To go hard every game. She says to always play like it's your last game, because you never know what can happen.
On the player she'd most like to play one-on-one against
Kobe Bryant. I obviously don't think I would give him any real competition; but playing against him, learning how he works and maneuvers on the court would be great. The way he commands the court is amazing.
On her brother Anthony, a starting guard for the Toronto Raptors
Agewise we are so far apart [11 years], so we didn't really play one-on-one much. Growing up and going to his basketball games in high school and then in college at Bradley made me want to play. His work ethic is amazing. He played a lot [six seasons] overseas before making it in the NBA.
On fans wearing her jersey
When I see little girls wearing them it reminds me of when I was little at Bulls games and I wanted Ron Harper's jersey and autograph. He was my favorite player, not Jordan. To think someone feels that way about me is so flattering. It means the women's game is growing and it's a great time for me to be involved in the evolution of the game.
On her off-day outings
I love going to the park to play with my two dogs. Fendi is a year old, and she's a Saint Bernard mix I got from an animal shelter. Neno's a pug I've had since I was eight. I like to be low-key when I'm not playing.
On her hidden talent
Uhhhhh, I can juggle, if that's a talent....
On what she wants her legacy at Tennessee to be
That I'm a positive role model. I want to exhibit poise and confidence on and off the court. I want to win a championship, I want to be known as a winner, not just the girl who dunks and scores.
THE 6'4" PARKER AVERAGES 19.0 POINTS FOR NO. 3 TENNESSEE. SHE HAS FOUR DUNKS THIS SEASON.