The prestigious award was voted on by a panel of sports editors with Parker receiving 11 first-place votes, placing her ahead of swimmer Katie Ledecky and gymnast Simone Biles.
Winning her first AP Athlete of the Year Award in 2008, Parker is now tied with Babe Didrikson Zaharias for the longest time between winning in the 80-year history of the award.
“There was something about going to where you started playing the game,” Parker said in an interview. “It’s exciting to play in front of the people who first saw me pick up a basketball. To win at home, I’m just now recognizing it a little bit. How special that really is. Something that is top on my list.”
After spending 13 decorated seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, at 35-years-old, Parker returned to her hometown of Chicago to lead the Sky to their franchise’s first WNBA championship.
Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner lauded Parker for her latest accomplishment in her storied career.
“You couldn’t write a better story than the one of Candace Parker bringing the WNBA championship to her hometown in her first season with the Chicago Sky,” Engelbert said. “On top of her accomplishments on the court and in the studio, she has continued to be a leader and role model to many, including working moms around the world. The WNBA is proud to have players like Candace who continually raise the bar and elevate the game and our league to the highest level.”
Parker holds the distinction of being the only WNBA player to win the AP Female Athlete of the Year award and she hopes that the league will continue to garner the recognition that it deserves.
“The more visibility we get as a league, which seems like it is coming, the more we’ll see,” she said. “If you see it, see ... more and more talented players ... that are capable and deserving. This next wave of athletes that are able to have their career followed from the time it starts till the end are going to change the face of the WNBA.”