Although her daughter Lailaa Nicole is just six weeks old, WNBA star Candace Parker says there’s already an informal college recruiting frenzy taking place. “When I first told [University of Tennessee] Coach [Pat] Summitt that I was pregnant, she was like, ‘Where can we send the papers?'” Candace tells TIME magazine. “I had to remind her that my husband [NBA star Shelden Williams] went to Duke, so he’s pushing for her to go there.” All joking aside, life as parents has been “great” for the couple, who married last year.
“My baby is the joy in my life. Obviously, I’m suffering from lack of sleep, but it truly is a blessing to be a mother.”
As promised, Candace is working hard to return to her team — the Los Angeles Sparks — by the end of July, and has stated her intent to resume practice over the next two weeks. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy, by any means, but I think it’s possible to come back better than I was,” she says. “I understand my body a lot more. I focus a lot more on stretching and taking care of myself.” Inspiration — should she need it — is everywhere, Candace adds.
“My teammates have done it. Tina Thompson came back the same season she delivered her son. Lisa Leslie waited a year. They’re still at the top of their game.”