WNBA phenom Candace Parker takes a break from her adidas photo shoot to talk about aspiring to play Olympic basketball from a young age, what it takes to get to the professional level and the adversity she's faced throughout her career.
About the VideoCandace Parker
reveals her dreams and hard work that got her to where she is today. She explains the importance of believing in yourself and taking care of your body in order to improve each season.
Candace Parker: I'm Candace Parker with the Los Angeles Sparks. I'm hanging out here at my Adidas photo shoot and you're watching STACK. I was 11 years old sitting on the couch watching the 96' Olympics. I remember telling my dad I heard about the WMBA coming into the United States and I wanted to play in the Olympics. And then I heard about this professional league and I learned that I could aspire to play there.
So ever since that day, every time I shot in my driveway I was shooting against the other WNBA greats, Lisa Leslies and Tina Thompsons Rebecca Logos and Cynthia Coopers and everybody. I think it just takes a lot of commitment and lot of time and some luck. You have to be in the right place at the right time. A lot of people continue to fight and continue to believe and they eventually reach their goal.
But I just wanted to make sure that I didn't have any regrets. That I tried as hard as I could and fortunately it worked out for me. Well I do feel like my younger years set the standard for training. My dad, he really pushed me hard when I was a kid and he really encouraged me to practice how I play and practice like you're going to play.
So I think that I've always taken workouts extremely seriously. I've always gone hard in workouts and that transfers over into the game. And during the off season at an early age I set a goal of trying to improve 25 percent every summer, or every off season. And I think that this summer, this off seasons, I really focused on just my outside shot
and endurance. I really wanted to be in really good shape and be able to play and with stand the 38 minutes, the 39 minutes.
I think you are what you eat. I think early on a lot of people think just because you're not gaining weight it's ok to eat whatever you want. And I fell into that category. But now I'm starting to realize that you need to eat healthier and you need to be better about what you eat because it does help you. It does help your body and you do recognize a difference.
At first I just started off by changing my diet. I think that you are what you eat. So I think I'm eating a lot better. I've just really been working on endurance and conditioning and things like that while I was over sea's playing, as well as getting in the gym and getting up as many shots as I possibly can.
The key basketball skills that I was focusing on this post season were ball handling. I really wanted to get a lot better on my ball handling skills
. I really wanted to be a consistent shoot as well as knocking down free throws.
Unfortunately I have had many moments of adversity. I think the biggest one that I will remember that was the hardest to overcome was when I tore my ACL in high school. When I first did that I thought the world ended. I thought the recruiting letters were going to stop. I thought that everybody was just going to forget about me and I wasn't ever going to get better. Once I got over that, once I accepted the injury, I busted my tail to get back on the court. After a couple of games and things like that my timing was back and my game was much better than it was before I blew out my knee.
I think I used others as motivation. I set goals for myself. Everybody's going to have their comments that they make that, "there's no way you can come back from this", or it's going to be hard and you just use it as fuel. You tell yourself when you don't feel like doing an extra rep or going to rehab or getting up out of bed that day, you motivate yourself with those things that people said.
My motivation continues to drive me to be better. I think everybody wants to be the best. I think that I have not reached that and nobody has reached their full potential. So I think that continues to drive me. Obviously everybody doubting or anybody saying anything negative that I need to improve my gain, I want to go back and I want to look at myself in the mirror and I'm my biggest criticic.
So I just want to make sure that everything that I do is the best to my ability. I think my biggest advice to anybody that's trying to be a professional athlete or aspiring to reach their goals would be to just continue to be the hardest worker out there. Be the first one in the gym. Be the last one to leave. Listen to everybody because everyone can provide you with some kind of advice or improve your talent in some type of way.
I'm very excited to be a part of Adidas. I've been a part of Adidas since I was in high school. My team wore Adidas shoes and very excited to be a part of this fami