Candace Parker is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and will go down as one of the best of all time in women’s basketball. Parker led the Chicago Sky to its first championship in her first season in her hometown, giving her a pair of WNBA titles to go along with two league MVP awards, a DPOY, six first team All-WNBA honors, and three second-team selections.
However, Parker has been somewhat conspicuously left off of USA Basketball rosters since winning her second Olympic gold medal in 2012. While USA Basketball has a robust player pool to select from on the women’s side, Parker’s absence has raised eyebrows and led to many a theory about why that was, with many placing the blame on the UConn contingent that has long held power within USA hoops. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma was the long-time coach before Dawn Staley took over this past Olympics, and the Tennessee-UConn rivalry made for a rather easy explanation.
Parker herself subscribes to that theory as to why she hasn’t made a team since 2012, speaking with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks on Tuesday about her USA Basketball experience and explaining how it very clearly had nothing to do with her on-court performance.
this is real. not photoshopped. pic.twitter.com/MaBVeL2f2C
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) November 30, 2021
As long as you have prominent coaches at the helm of USA Basketball, there will always be some question of fairness in selections, but Parker’s point is particularly compelling. She notes that part of her frustration comes from the fact that no one would really tell her a real reason for her being left off, as she knows it has to be for some fit concerns but because they’ve never been addressed with her while she dominated on the floor, it could never even be something she tried to adjust.
Parker isn’t alone in feeling excluded by the politics of USA Basketball, as Nneka Ogwumike was snubbed from this year’s squad despite being a reigning MVP and the leader of USA hoops in the run-up to the Olympics last year before things got shut down. Parker voiced her support for Ogwumike after being left off, noting the similarity to their situation, and it seems there is some serious work to be done by USA Basketball to mend fences if they are to change the frustrations players feel towards the selection process.