Candace Parker is a lock for the Hall of Fame and will go down as one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time. Parker led the Chicago Sky to their first WNBA championship in her first season back in her hometown, earning her two league MVP awards, a DPOY, six first-team All-WNBA honors, and three second-team honors.
Parker, on the other hand, has been noticeably absent from USA Basketball squads since earning her second Olympic gold medal in 2012. While USA Basketball has a large player pool to choose from on the women’s side, Parker’s absence has sparked speculation and spawned numerous theories, with many blaming the UConn contingent, which has historically held power in USA hoops. Before Dawn Staley took over this past Olympics, Huskies coach Geno Auriemma was the long-time coach, and the Tennessee-UConn rivalry made for an easy explanation.
Parker, who spoke with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks on Tuesday about her USA Basketball experience and how it had nothing to do with her on-court performance, subscribes to that hypothesis as to why she hasn’t made a squad since 2012.
There will always be some question of fairness in selections as long as notable coaches lead USA Basketball, but Parker’s claim is particularly convincing. She expresses her dissatisfaction with the fact that no one would give her a real reason for being left off, despite the fact that she knows it has to be due to fit concerns, which have never been addressed with her while she dominated on the floor, and thus could never be something she tried to adjust.
Nneka Ogwumike, the reigning MVP and the leader of USA hoops in the run-up to the Olympics last year before things were shut down, was snubbed from this year’s squad, despite being a reigning MVP and the leader of USA hoops in the run-up to the Olympics last year before things were shut down. After being left out, Parker expressed her support for Ogwumike, citing the similarities in both situations, and it appears like USA Basketball needs to do some real work to mend relationships if they want to improve the grievances players have with the selection process.