Candace Parker: 'Everything Happens For a Reason'

03/13/2009 at 04:00 PM ET
Courtesy ESPN for use on CBB

Although her pregnancy was unplanned, Candace Parker is a big believer in fate. “I was surprised,” the 22-year-old Los Angeles Sparks forward admits in a cover story for the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine. “But everything happens for a reason.”

What’s more, Candace says that she’s looking forward to integrating baby-on-the-way — reportedly due in May — into her life as an international basketball star. “It will be exciting to have my child share my career,” she explains, “and to remember what I was like when I was young.”

Softly proclaiming that she’s “not worried” about impending motherhood, Candace notes that she has nieces and nephews who have helped prepare her for what lies ahead. “Of course, [husband] Shel[den Williams] and I joke that we can’t send this one home,” she adds. The couple never wavered on how they would handle the pregnancy, however. Says Candace,

“I knew my decision. I knew people would have positive and negative reactions to it. But I’ve been a people-pleaser my whole life. I needed to get over that.”

Still, there are contracts to uphold and endorsements to keep; To that end, Candace says she intends to return to the court as little as two months after her due date. She’ll try to avoid a C-section at all costs while trying to prove her detractors wrong. “I’m stubborn,” she says. “I’ve been through knee, ankle, shoulder injuries…I feed off of doubt, people telling me I won’t be able to come back. We’ll see about that.” Basketball has a calming influence on Candace, so a speedy return to action is something she says she wants.

“The baby will be along for the ride, with me on trips, at the court. You don’t hear about male players doing that, do you? Women, we just have to balance more things. It’s harder for us. That’s just the way it is. For now.”

Baby-on-the-way will be the first for Candace and Shelden, a forward with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The couple were married in November.

Source: ESPN The Magazine

Click here for video footage of Candace’s cover shoot.

FILED UNDER: Maternity , News , Parenting

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Monique on

She looks great on this cover. Almost angelic in her white!

ErykaWynter on

I have always wondered what people mean by “unplanned.” Particularly in this case, she is married and if they weren’t using some form of birth control, then you know there is a reasonable chance you might become pregnant. The only time it would really be a “surprise” is if you are using contraception. Anybody know what I mean here?

crimpe on

To ErykaWynter, Actually, if she is due in May, she would have been pregnant before she got married in November. I’ve known people who had to move up a wedding date because of an unplanned pregnancy. In one case it was a super shocker, as the woman had been on the pill for years. Things happen! Perhaps Candace was using contraception, I wouldn’t expect her to give the specifics. She is very beautiful, and white certainly suits her.

sat on

beautiful!!! she looks ecstatic!

Kimber Christian on

I’m a little confused by this statement…..

The couple never wavered on how they would handle the pregnancy, however. Says Candace, “I knew my decision. I knew people would have positive and negative reactions to it.

Is she saying people would have wanted her to terminate her pregnancy?

SMC on

Kimber Christian,
Who knows, maybe. I can imagine that certain people may have had a negative reaction to her pregnancy, being that she is only 22 and is one of the best players in the WNBA. Maybe her coaches or team members, or just fans, could have been disappointed that she would interrupt her athletic career to have a baby at her young age. I think she has an awesome attitude about her family and career, though. And she’s right: Young male athletes become fathers all the time, and they don’t get a fraction of the criticism that female athletes do.

ErykaWynter,
I know several married couples who were using contraception and had “unplanned” pregnancies. It happens.

Chanel on

I was wondering about that statement as well Kimber. Candace also said people won’t think she’ll return back and she’s going to prove them wrong. It’s clear that Candace is very mature and will have no problem balancing a successful career and family life.

Candace looks gorgeous on the cover and I love how toned her arms are. I wonder if its a boy or girl.

Crystal on

She looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Pregnancy definitely agrees with her. I can’t wait to see the baby! I’m thinking girl!!🙂

illya on

What confuses me more about ‘unplanned’ pregnancies is that people always seem to assume couples weren’t using birth control, especially with teen pregnancies. Unless you’re a perfect user or use multiple methods, the odds of eventually getting pregnant are way higher than zero. I think is safe to say at least half of kids around aren’t planned! That’s not to say they aren’t loved and wanted, but that sort of comes after the fact.

Chris on

Unplanned just means they weren’t trying for a baby. It has nothing to do with whether they were using contraception or not (which is not 100% effective anyway). She is absolutely glowing on this cover. Things DO happen for a reason, and I think being a mother will only enhance her fabulousness!

One more thing: I hope she doesn’t feel pressured to return to the court too soon. She seems very goal oriented, but in her quest to prove people wrong I hope she takes enough time for herself and her baby after her bundle of joy arrives. Best wishes!

Kate on

She seems so grounded and lovely, and she looks gorgeous on that cover! All the best to her and her family!!

Emily on

I have an “unplanned” baby and it was the greatest blessing EVER!! My MIL was Candace’s husband (shelden)’s kindergarten teacher. She has kept up with all these years. He is a great guy and comes from a good family. I wish them well!!

Michelle on

She looks so beautiful!!! I believe everything happens for a reason, and I know she will be a GREAT mom.

L on

she looks so gorgeous, everyone on this site always reads WAY to much into things….annoying!!

FC on

Candace looks great, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pregnant pro athlete on a sports-oriented magazine before. I’d kill to have her arms, too.

Mae on

I love Candace. I always wished she’d played for UNC women, she’s a fantastic player! Not such a big fan of her husband (lol, he went to Duke, our biggest rival) — she seems like a really genuine sweet girl though, I think she and Sheldon will be great parents.

She looks amazing!!

Aya on

Who cares if it was planned or not.I agree with you L.She looks amazing and I am sure she will make a great mom ~

jasmine on

L – I totally agree! She looks great on the cover–she’s beautiful! For some reason I’m thinking she’ll have a boy, not sure why though.

daniela on

FC I was thinking the same thing – those arms are to die for! LOL! She is breathtakingly beautiful! I wish I looked like her preggers – all belly. IF I ever get pregnant again I hope to look half as good as her!🙂

Illinoisan on

At least she is positive about this- saying that fate has brought the baby into their live rests any other questions. SHe seems very sweet, and is very beautiful on the cover, as well. I remember seeing her on the Olympics- she and the other female basketball players did awesome, as did the males! It is awesome she represents Chicago!!! Go Candace!!!:)

nearlynormalized on

Candace Parker, not only a beautiful athlete to watch, also the kind of person you want to know in this life. May your baby be healthy and may you and Sheldon enjoy the life you have created.

Mia on

She looks so beautiful pregnant🙂 It reminds me of a similar picture of Angelina Jolie, just so round/all belly.

The pic is here:

KC on

It’s great to see her doing big things! I went to UT with her and graduated when she did. Even though I didn’t get the chance to really know her, I’m glad to say that we attended the same school. I was shocked when she announced she was pregnant, but I think she will be able to bounce back and be the best basketball player she can be! Congrats!!

Crystal on

I read there is a backlash over her doing the cover and the story inside. People are actually saying she ruined her career by getting pregnant and that her playing level will never reach the heights she had before she got pregnant. ESPN The Magazine said they actually had to convince her to do the story because she was hesitant and wanted to make sure they weren’t going to make fun of her. It totally broke my heart. I wish her and Sheldon many blessings and joy to come. She has my support and well wishes always! She’ll be a wonderful mother and CONTINUE to be an EXCELLENT basketball player!! Team Parker/Williams!!🙂

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