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Candace Parker cemented her legacy in Chicago

Candace Parker cemented her Chicago legacyAxios on FacebookAxios on TwitterAxios on LinkedInAxios by emailMcDonald’s All American Game: Team West Candace Parker (31) on the bench in 2004. Photo: Manny Millan / Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

The Chicago Sky return to the WNBA Finals for the second time in franchise history.

  • Game 1 is Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN.

Why it matters: The 6th seeded shocked the league with a big surprise over the 1st seeded Connecticut Sun, thanks to a great performance from home hero Candace Parker.

Flashback: If you’re not a basketball fan, but recognize the name, it’s because Parker grew up in Naperville and graced the cover of local sports websites during her high school years.

  • A Bulls fan whose favorite player was Ron Harper, she played for Naperville Central from 2001-2004 and was voted the nation’s best high school player twice.
  • She dipped at age 15, she became the first female athlete to immerse herself in a basketball during a game in Illinois history. Parker won the McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest against former NBA stars like JR Smith.

This season, Parker returned to Chicago after spending the first 13 seasons of her career with the Los Angeles Sparks.

  • She honored the greats of Chicago basketball by wearing the high school jerseys of Dwayne Wade, Kevin Garnett, and the late Benji Wilson.

💭 Justin’s thought bubble: It’s hard to put into words how much Chicago loves a hometown heroic story. Parker has been just that since she was sophomore in high school. That she’s back here at the age of 35 and will lead Sky to the finals? It’s Chicago style fate.

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